Thousands protest state vote that shook up German politics

Several thousand people have rallied in eastern Germany to protest the ousting of a popular state governor by lawmakers from a far-right and two centrist parties

Speakers at the union-organized rally in the German town of Erfurt strongly criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats and the pro-business Free Democratic Party for the role their state lawmakers had in removing the governor.

The decision by Christian Democratic Union lawmakers in Thuringia to vote alongside Alternative for Germany members was widely condemned as breaking the taboo against cooperating with far-right parties.

The move led to the resignation of several German politicians, including Merkel's heir apparent, Annegret-Kramp Karrenbauer. The leader of the Christian Democrats in Thuringia also announced he would step down from his post.