Kohl is jostled at unity meeting

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The Independent Online
AMID continuing criticism of his handling of German unification, Chancellor Helmut Kohl yesterday appealed to his countrymen to show more tolerance of outsiders and each other.

But after he spoke on the second anniversary of the re-uniting of east and west Germany, he was jostled by one of the crowd. The ARD television network said a protester had struck Mr Kohl in the stomach as the Chancellor walked through the centre of the eastern town of Schwerin, but police denied it.

Mr Kohl admitted that the past two years had been a steep 'learning process' for the country and for him personally, but insisted that the fundamental direction was right and that better times lay ahead.

'The living standards in the east have, despite everything, risen significantly,' he said. 'We have achieved a great deal, but there is still much to do.'

Referring to attacks on immigrants, he said: 'Hostility against foreigners and anti-Semitism are a disgrace for our land. Such perpetrators of violence must feel the full force of the law.'

Mr Kohl, with President Von Weizsacker, took part in official celebrations in Schwerin, which has been badly hit by soaring unemployment.

At least 115 people were arrest after scuffles between police and left-wing demonstrators during the celebrations. Meanwhile, 1,500 neo-Nazis marked the anniversary with marches in Dresden and Arnstadt.