Conservatives demand East German symbol ban
Published: 21 May 2013 12:17 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 May 2013 12:17 GMT+02:00
Germany's Christian Democrats (CDU) called on Tuesday for symbols associated with the totalitarian socialist regime of former East Germany to be banned, in the same way that it is illegal to display Nazi memorabilia.
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Earlier this month, veteran Stasi soldiers sparked outrage when they marched in uniform through the Treptow district, home of a huge Soviet War Memorial, where thousands of soldiers are buried.
Such "provocation" should not be tolerated, Volker Kauder, parliamentary leader of the CDU faction told the Berliner Morgenpost regional newspaper, adding that the march had made a mockery of the victims of a dictatorship which had harassed and persecuted its people for decades.
And Kai Wegner, CDU representative for the district of Spandau, said the march signified a "new, intolerable dimension," to the ridicule of those that fell victim to the totalitarian policies pursued by authorities in the German Democratic Republic (GDR), which existed between 1949 and 1990.
Over the years, Germany has taken measures to clamp down on those glorifying the darker ideologies of its past. It is illegal to display Nazi symbols, greetings and memorabilia, with offenders facing up to three years in prison.
It's not the first time politicians have attempted to outlaw GDR symbols. In 2011 the CDU youth branch called for a similar ban. At the time, representatives suggested that penalties for displaying GDR symbols should be equivalent to those which apply to showcasing far-right memorabilia.