Germany investigates 'foreigners out' chants at village festival

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have opened an investigation after a video showing young people singing "foreigners out, Germany for the Germans" at a village festival circulated on social media, a spokesperson said on Friday.

The incident came to light at a time of heightened concern over the rise of far-right sentiment across Europe, and as Germany prepares to welcome millions of fans from abroad to the European football championship.

The seven-second video was taken in mid-May at a target shooting festival in the village of Kleinburgwedel in central Germany, with people singing the words to the tune of an Italian disco hit, local newspaper HAZ reported.

The song "L'amour Toujours" by DJ Gigi D'Agostino from 2001 has been co-opted by the far-right in recent months, with revellers singing "Germany for the Germans, foreigners out" over it.

A police spokesperson in Hanover said they were investigating on suspicion of inciting racial hatred, but declined to give further details.

In a similar incident last month, a group of young people were caught on video chanting the slogan to the same song in an exclusive club on the German island of Sylt, prompting a wave of outrage and a number of lawsuits.

In a separate incident this week, police said they were investigating 16 people suspected of shouting a Nazi slogan in a Munich beer garden.

In Germany, the use of slogans and symbols linked to anti-constitutional groups, including the Nazi party, has been illegal since World War Two.

Germany has been shaken by several racism-related incidents at a time when the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) has gained popularity and performed strongly in recent European elections.

Germany is hosting the European football championship, which will be held in 10 different cities and start on Friday evening with the hosts playing Scotland.

(Reporting by Friederike Heine; Editing by Matthias Williams and Angus MacSwan)