BERLIN — More than 1,000 far-right supporters rallied Friday night over the fatal stabbing of a man in the eastern German city of Chemnitz, for which two recent migrants have been charged with manslaughter.

In a case that has exposed friction between Chancellor Angela Merkel and top security officials, the flag-waving crowd rallied under the motto “security for Chemnitz” and behind a banner proclaiming “we are the people.”

The number marching was far smaller than the estimated 6,000 or so who assembled the day after the Aug. 26 stabbing of 35-year-old Daniel Hillig.

About 500 counter-protesters gathered nearby shouting slogans like “there’s no right to Nazi propaganda,” while another opposition protest featured an open-air performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as a sign “against xenophobia, hate and violence.”

Local media reported one far-right supporter was arrested after being identified as having given the stiff-armed Nazi salute, which is banned in Germany, at a previous rally but police headquarters said they had no details on the report.

Since the slaying of Hillig, the nationalist Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, has sought to mobilize support with its anti-migrant message. But after a brief bump, polling suggests little change.

An Iraqi citizen and a Syrian citizen were arrested on manslaughter charges over Hillig’s death, which has also put a renewed a focus on Merkel’s welcoming migrant policies and revealed disagreements between her and top security officials. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer expressed sympathy Thursday for the protesters who were provoked by the killing.

“If I were not a minister, I’d have gone to the streets as a citizen,” Seehofer said, quickly adding: “Naturally, not together with the radicals.”

Seehofer, who heads the Bavarian sister party to Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats, has long been to the chancellor’s right on immigration, but his rhetoric has toughened as polls show his party struggling ahead of an October state election. He told the Rheinischen Post newspaper that voters were linking their concerns to the issue of migration, which he called “the mother of all political problems in this country.”

Merkel responded in an interview with Germany TV network RTL late Thursday that she saw it differently.

“Migration presents us with challenges and here we have problems, but also successes,” the chancellor said. Merkel added that she was working with Seehofer to solve those problems.

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