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Hubert Aiwanger: Deputy Prime Minister of Bavaria and farmer

Photo: Armin Weigel / dpa

The leader of the Free Voters, Hubert Aiwanger, claims that the widely expressed fear that extremists will infiltrate the farmers' protests is a deliberate denigration "from the left". The "overwhelming majority of farmers" have nothing to do with extremism, the deputy prime minister of Bavaria told Die Welt. Aiwanger is himself a farmer in Lower Bavaria.

"It is politically extremely indecent to try to discredit the justified farmers' protests in order to unsettle the farmers," Aiwanger added. However, the fear that the protest could be co-opted by the right does not only come from political opponents: According to a report in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, German security authorities are observing various calls for mobilization and expressions of solidarity from right-wing extremists, groups of the New Right and the lateral thinker scene.

The attack on the ferry of Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) in Schlüttsiel, Schleswig-Holstein, had already shown a mobilisation of far-right forces.

The German Farmers' Association (DBV) has called for nationwide protest actions against the policy of the federal government for the week that is now beginning. Police and authorities expect massive disruptions, for example due to roadblocks. In recent days, security authorities and politicians have warned of radicalisation and the threat of infiltration of the protests, partly because of the much-criticised blockade action by protesting farmers against Habeck.

Farmers' association distances itself from radical groups

Politicians, especially from the traffic light parties, called on farmers to position themselves clearly within the framework of the rule of law. "Peaceful registered protests are completely legitimate for me," said SPD parliamentary group vice-chairman Dirk Wiese to the Rheinische Post. But I expect a clear distancing from right-wing circles."

The president of the German Farmers' Association (DBV), Joachim Rukwied, has also declared the participation of right-wing groups in next week's farmers' protests to be undesirable. "We don't want right-wing and other radical groups with a desire for overthrow at our demonstrations," he told the Bild am Sonntag.

The anger of the farmers had been ignited by planned subsidy cuts for the industry in the wake of the budget crisis. In the meantime, the German government has cashed in on parts of the plans. Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) therefore criticized the actions announced as excessive.