Merkel was courageous and right to stick to her policy and allow the Syrian refugees in: but she badly failed to win the argument about migration, and perhaps Europe, even if she did, sort of, win this scrappy election.
Shouting slogans such as "All Berlin hates the AfD!" and "Nazi pigs!", the demonstrators gathered outside a building in Germany's capital where the anti-immigrant party's leaders were celebrating winning an estimated 13.1 percent of the votes in Sunday's federal poll.
"As widely expected Angela Merkel won her fourth term as German Chancellor despite a sharp decline in public support". Voters turned away from both major parties, and backed the populist-right Alternative fuer Deutschland (up 8%) and the Free Democrats (up 6%).
Citing "dissent" with more hardline colleagues, Ms Petry dropped her bombshell at a press conference, catching other key AfD figures by surprise as she abruptly left the room.
Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrats that have governed with Ms Merkel since 2013, said his party had no choice but to go into opposition after dropping to a post-war low of 20.5 per cent. First of all, Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) had a reliable partner in the equally center left Social Democrats (SPD).
Merkel was referring to her 2015 policy which allowed some one million refugees, mostly from Syria and Iraq, to enter German and led to the decline of popularity of large parties in favour of anti-migrant far-right parties.
The rise of AFD is making some nervous; it's the first time a right-wing party has gained a prominent foothold in Germany's Parliament since World War II.
"But I am convinced that when the topic of Muslims is no longer interesting, and it becomes politically and socially opportune to switch to another minority, they could easily do so".
AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland vowed that "we will take our country back" and promised to "chase" Merkel. The new Bundestag will have to elect a Chancellor with an absolute majority of its members, who will in turn form a new government. The real news coming out of that contest wasn't the overall victor, but rather the shifts in support for the rest of the players and the shrinking of Merkel's ruling coalition. But at least the German citizens are paying attention and trying to change their country's current course.
The European Union should be organised more as a club of sovereign nation-states and German culture must be protected against "Islamisation", according to the AfD.