• Germany edition
 
Protesters fined €200 for blocking neo-Nazi demo
Anti-Nazi protesters at a rally in Berlin in 2007. Photo: DPA

Protesters fined €200 for blocking neo-Nazi demo

Published: 22 Jan 2014 15:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Jan 2014 15:20 GMT+01:00

Munich authorities have dished out fines of €200 each to dozens of demonstrators who peacefully blocked neo-Nazi rallies two years ago. Those fined told The Local they would not pay the penalty.

Among them is the former Green Party leader on Munich City Council, Siegfried Benker, who is furious at what he calls the "extraordinary meticulousness” of authorities.

"Of course I won't pay the fine," Benker told The Local. "It's absolutely not in the public interest."  

The fines relate to two neo-Nazi rallies which took place in the city in 2012.

In January, anti-Nazi protesters blocked the path of a far-right demonstration at the Sendlinger Tor in the historic centre. No violence was reported but 20 of the protesters have since been issued with fines.

They were outraged the Pink Panther tune had been played at the rally just weeks after a video made by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) terror cell featuring the same song was made public.

The far-right group is thought to be responsible for the deaths of at least ten people and the trial of surviving member Beate Zschäpe is still ongoing.

"Just consider the timing,” Benker said. “It was only weeks after the NSU video came out. Playing that song was clearly an endorsement of the murders they committed.”

Benker was also part of a group of protesters who impeded the course of a mini-bus ferrying members of the far-right Citizens’ Initiative to Stop Immigrants (BIA) in the Westend area of the city in July of 2012. Eighteen protesters have been issued with fines.

CLICK HERE for more news from Munich

Police did not intervene to stop the anti-Nazi demonstrators, but they collected photographic evidence at the demonstration which they later passed on to city authorities.

Those authorities then spent two years analyzing the footage, which they used to identify the protesters blocking the demonstrations.

"They engaged in relentless investigations to track us down," Benker said. "And we're talking about what was, undeniably, a peaceful protest."

 According to Benker, local authorities had the option of dropping the case but chose instead to "focus disproportionately" on identifying the anti-Nazi protesters rather than neo-Nazis.

Munich authorities have defended their actions, claiming their investigation of the case was part of normal procedure.

The city council department responsible for issuing the fines said it was obliged to adopt a politically neutral stance and could not waive fines according to “personal conviction”.

However, its spokeswoman Daniela Schlegel told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that city authorities welcomed and encouraged anti-Nazi initiatives.

For Siegfried Benker that is a contradiction in terms. "This is going to discourage people from attending anti-Nazi protests," he told The Local.

The former Green Party councillor also claims that police in Munich crack own more heavily on left-wing demonstrators than their right-wing counterparts. "It's part of an outdated right/left wing schema," he said.

Benker, along with others have formally refused to pay up and have launched an official appeal against the penalty. A decision is expected in the coming weeks.    

READ MORE: States try to ban neo-Nazi party

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Kate Ferguson (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
German football
Bayer regain fourth in battle for Champions League spot
Photo: DPA

Bayer regain fourth in battle for Champions League spot

Bayer Leverkusen regained fourth place in the Bundesliga on Sunday with a 4-1 romp at Nuremberg in their battle to retain their Champions League place for next season. READ () »

German ladies net Fed Cup final appearance
Germany's Angelique Kerber celebrates her victory over Australia's Sam Stosur with teammates after their match in the Fed Cup semi-final. AFP Photo: Patrick Hamilton

German ladies net Fed Cup final appearance

Angelique Kerber put Germany into their first Fed Cup final in 22 years with a fighting victory over Australia's Samantha Stosur in the semi-final in Brisbane on Sunday. READ () »

Germany should make use of shale gas: EU
EU commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger pictured in Luxembourg in 2013. AFP Photo: Georges Gobet

Germany should make use of shale gas: EU

EU energy commissioner Günther Oettinger has urged Germany to make use of shale gas options and added that the he saw no danger of Europe's access to Russian gas falling victim to possible economic sanctions in the standoff over Ukraine. READ () »

Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final
Members of the German Fed Cup Team celebrate after an earlier victory in the tournament. Photo: DPA

Tennis aces close in on Fed Cup final

Germany took hold of their Fed Cup semi-final on Saturday, winning both the opening day singles to lead Australia 2-0 in Brisbane. READ () »

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradites ex-top spy to Germany

Croatia extradited a former Yugoslav spy chief, Zdravko Mustac, to Germany on Thursday to face charges for the 1983 murder of a dissident on German soil. READ () »

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years
An officer of the Lower Saxon Criminal Investigation Department (CID) securing evidence on the hijacked ship Marida Marguerite. Photo: DPA

German court jails Somali pirate for 12 years

A German court has sentenced a Somali pirate chief to 12 years in jail for hijacking a ship off the Horn of Africa and tormenting its crew during an eight-month ordeal. READ () »

New app helps clients find prostitutes
Photo: DPA

New app helps clients find prostitutes

While the German government is considering tightening prostitution laws, Berlin entrepreneurs have developed a smartphone app to connect sex-workers with clients. READ () »

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend
Photo: DPA

Highs of 22C forecast for Easter weekend

The days running up to Easter may be cool and wet, but the holiday weekend should be a bit warmer for most of Germany, according to forecasters. READ () »

Berlin man must call himself a mother
The fight over the transgender man's right to be his child's official father has been raging since last year. Photo: DPA

Berlin man must call himself a mother

A transgender person who became the first man in Germany to give birth in March 2013 must be registered as the child's mother, a court has ruled after his year-long court battle to be named a father. READ () »

Study: rape convictions fall sharply
Photo: DPA

Study: rape convictions fall sharply

The chance of being convicted of rape in Germany has more than halved in the past two decades to fewer than one in ten, a major study revealed on Thursday. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
'The mafia has infiltrated every sector in Germany'
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The week in pictures: April 5th - April 11th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,031
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd