Germany's far-right AfD party has been criticised for launching a child informant programme in schools where pupils expose teachers who attack the party or show political bias.

Germany's far-Right

The Hamburg chapter of Alternative Fur Deutschland, which made major gains in last year's general election, launched a "Neutral Schools" website for anonymous complaints about teachers.

But Katarina Barley, the German justice minister, condemned the programme, warning that "organised denunciation is a tool of dictatorships."

"A party using this to expose disagreeable teachers ... reveals a lot about its own understanding of democracy," she added.

German teaching unions also hit out at the Stasi-esque surveillance scheme, which the AfD hopes to extend to nine other states, including Bavaria, Brandenburg, Baden-W├╝rttemberg and Saxony.

"It's to be expected that a party that wants to ostracise dissenters is now creating platforms to denounce people who have different opinions," Ilka Hoffmann, a board member of the German Education Union, told the Funke newspaper group.

"Teachers should be scared. This is a frightening development."

The AfD is the largest opposition party in the German parliament, the Bundestag, following a surge in support in the September 2017 election which handed them 90 seats.

It has capitalised on popular anger against Chancellor Angela Merkel's liberal refugee policy that resulted in a record refugee influx in 2015.

But the extreme rhetoric of some of its members has led to claims that the party harbours neo-Nazi and fascist sympathisers. Alexander Gauland, the party's leader, has described the Third Reich as a "speck of bird poo in over 1,000 years of successful German history."

Another member, Bjoern Hoecke, condemned the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, complaining that Germans were "the only people in the world who planted a memorial of shame in the heart of their capital".

In a separate incident, Mr Gauland was accused of paraphrasing Hitler in a newspaper column which railed against a "globalised class" which threatened his "homeland".

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