World Bulletin / News Desk
Speaking to media before the beginning of the rally, AfD board member Beatrix von Storch criticized German football player of Turkish origin Mesut Ozil.
Currently playing for English giants Arsenal, Ozil, 29, was born in the German city of Gelsenkirchen with Turkish parents. Ozil has also been playing for German national football team since 2009 and the Arsenal star is in Germany's preliminary squad for 2018 FIFA World Cup to be held this summer.
"Ozil has German passport but he isn't a German. He can't be a German as he doesn't sing the German anthem had his photos taken with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ozil is a role model of unsuccessful adaptation," Storch told media.
Erdogan met Ozil and the player's fellow citizen Ilkay Gundogan while he was in London in mid-May. Two German internationals Ozil and Gundogan gifted their autographed jerseys to Erdogan.
In addition the German duo had their photos taken with the Turkish President.
On the same day, May 14, German Football Federation (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel slammed the meeting, alleging that Ozil and Gundogan were exploited by Erdogan's election campaign.
Turks will go to the polls on June 24 to elect the country’s new president as well as parliamentary members.
A separate group of nearly 20,000 people protested against the far-right group as they shouted "Nazis out!"