Merkel aide criticizes hecklers in German election campaign

A senior aide to German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized "self-declared patriots" who have heckled Germany's leader during several campaign appearances before the Sept. 24 election.

Merkel rallies have frequently been marked by boos and other minor disruptions. On Friday, tomatoes were thrown at her car as she arrived in Wolgast on the Baltic coast.

The incidents, particularly in eastern Germany, come as the nationalist Alternative for Germany, or AfD, which harshly criticizes Merkel's decision to allow in migrants, seeks to enter parliament.

Peter Tauber, the general secretary of Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats, complained in an interview Saturday with the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung newspaper that "under the banner of AfD, right-wing extremists are disrupting almost all our events." But he said people who are genuinely interested far outnumber them.