• Germany edition
 
Protesters stop neo-Nazi march after 200 metres
Counter-demonstrators in Kreuzberg. Photo: J. Arthur White

Protesters stop neo-Nazi march after 200 metres

Published: 28 Apr 2014 08:50 GMT+02:00
Updated: 28 Apr 2014 08:50 GMT+02:00

The far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) still called their brief march into Kreuzberg a "success," but opted to cancel a second rally planned for Thursday May 1st in Berlin’s Neukölln.

NPD organizers said on Saturday that they wanted to protest “against multiculturalism, and for a clean, orderly and German Kreuzberg.”

More than 1,600 riot police were on hand to protect them from anti-fascist activists who had gathered along the proposed route. Police estimates put the number of counter-demonstrators at 2,700, while organizers said the number of protesters was 5,000. 

“We’re here so the Nazis can’t march through,” Fenja, an activist sitting with friends on Moritzplatz told The Local.

“The refugees on Oranienplatz can’t defend themselves from this assault. We’re here to show our solidarity,” she said, referring to a group of hunger strikers who had set up on the site of a former improvised refugee camp.

Berlin police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said officers wanted to protect the rights of the marchers and prevent clashes, but would likely be unable to dislodge the counter-demonstrators.

“The goal is of course to protect their assembly rights. That means [the NPD] have a right to march along the route they registered,” he said. “But it is very difficult to clear away one thousand people.”

Hakan Tas, a member of the Berlin City Senate who was on site representing the Left party, thought police actions were one-sided.

“When these protests are allowed then counter-demonstrations must also be allowed as well, and the police must not act only against the left-wing protesters,” he said.

“If these [extreme right] demonstrations lead to escalation then they should no longer be allowed,” he added, pointing out that the constitutional right to freedom of assembly would not apply if the party were outlawed. An legal initiative to ban the NPD is currently underway, but has questionable chances of success.

CLICK HERE for photos from the protest

‘Money for grandma’

Completely surrounded by riot-police, press photographers and demonstrators, who shouted slogans from all sides, about one hundred NPD members arrived on Jannowitzbrücke around noon. They lingered around for well over an hour before organizers handed out German flags and signs with slogans like “money for grandma, not for Sinti and Roma.”

A loudspeaker mounted on a van blared out Nazi marching songs, which clashed with the punk music being played by counter-demonstrators and the constant din of barking police dogs.

Speeches followed shortly after, painting a picture of a Germany increasingly overrun with foreigners and criminality.

“People are becoming victims of these anti-social, multicultural and refugee policies. [Refugee claimants] must in 99 percent of cases be sent back to their home countries,” said Sebastian Schmidtke, leader of the capital’s NPD section.

A speaker introduced as “comrade Christoph from Dortmund” was even more inflammatory.

“In the year 2040, the German people will have died out,” he warned, ending his speech with the slogan ‘Germany for the Germans, foreigners out!’”

Moments later, Christoph was taken to a police van and charged with incitement.

About three hours after they first assembled, the marchers lined up behind a banner, and slowly walked the short distance into Kreuzberg. While police managed to hold most counter-demonstrators further back, wild screams of “Nazis out!” still carried through the air.

In perhaps the most eerie moment of the afternoon, marchers began chanting “National Socialist, National Socialist, Ja! Ja! Ja!” an explicit reference to the ideology of the Hitler regime.

After about twenty minutes, and within sight of their starting point, the group came to a stop. Berlin NPD chief Schmidtke announced that police were “no longer able to guarantee our security”.

Despite all the disruptions, Schmidtke still regarded the demonstration as a success.

“The measure of success is not how far we walked, but how many people showed up. The success is in the fact that we have communicated our themes to the press,” he told The Local.

He denied that the march was meant to provoke left-wing activists who inhabit the area.

“It’s not provocative. If this is a lawless area where we can’t demonstrate then there is something wrong with the city,” he said.

SEE ALSO: NPD leader resigns over birthday cake

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

J. Arthur White (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Oettinger blames celebs for nude photo hack
Oettinger (l) appeared to misunderstand how the internet works in his comments about the photo hack which has reportedly affected celebrities including Amber Heard (r). Photo: DPA/EPA

Oettinger blames celebs for nude photo hack

German newspapers on Tuesday ridiculed incoming EU Digital Commissioner Günther Oettinger after he blamed "stupid" celebrities for having their private nude pictures hacked and spread online. READ  

Shots fired as ‘seniors’ rob Berlin security van
Police outside the Apple Store in Berlin where a security van was robbed. Photo: DPA

Shots fired as ‘seniors’ rob Berlin security van

A gang disguised as pensioners opened fire on a Berlin security van on Monday night, escaping with cash before setting their getaway car on fire. It is the second such attack in ten days. READ  

Pickpocket fools minister at anti-crime event
Ralf Jäger in front of a sign reading "eyes open and pockets closed" at the pickpocketing awareness event. Photo: DPA

Pickpocket fools minister at anti-crime event

North Rhine-Westphalia's interior minister Ralf Jäger was pickpocketed by a magician at a press conference he called on Monday to launch a campaign against pickpocketing. READ  

Berlin heart centre fiddled transplant list
Photo: DPA

Berlin heart centre fiddled transplant list

A probe into German transplant centres sparked by an organ donor scandal has revealed 14 cases of a doctor fiddling medical records at one of Germany’s leading heart centres. READ  

Lufthansa strike hits 20,000 passengers
A stranded group of travellers from Vancouver, Canada, sit and wait at Frankfurt Airport on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Lufthansa strike hits 20,000 passengers

UPDATE: The fourth pilots’ strike in recent weeks hit Germany’s biggest airport on Tuesday morning, with long-haul Lufthansa flights grounded at Frankfurt. Around 20,000 passengers have been affected. READ  

View from Germany
'Criminals are at work in refugee homes'
Photo: DPA/Police

'Criminals are at work in refugee homes'

A photo appearing to show a refugee being abused at a home for asylum seekers has caused outrage in Germany. The photo has been compared to those from Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Police are now investigating six cases of abuse at three different centres. READ  

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack
An investigator gives a sniffer dog the scent of an object found at the scene. Photo: DPA

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack

Investigators believe a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Reichstag building in Berlin early on Monday morning was the work of a far-right group, a police spokeswoman said on Tuesday. READ  

Unemployment rate stagnates in September
Photo: DPA

Unemployment rate stagnates in September

Unemployment in Germany stagnated in September, as clouds continue to build over Europe's biggest economy, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission
A Bundeswehr Patriot missile in southern Turkey. Photo: DPA

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission

A shortage of trained troops caused more embarrassment for Germany's military on Tuesday when it emerged that more than one in four soldiers taking part in a Nato mission in Turkey are not getting their allotted time off between deployments. READ  

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin
Spielberg (l), Amy Ryan (c) and Tom Hanks (r). Photo: DPA

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin

Director Steven Spielberg is to shoot his next film in Germany, the Berlin-Brandenburg Film Board announced on Monday. The Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan director is turning his attention to a Cold War spy thriller. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
Immigrants have created how many German jobs?
Photo: DPA
Munich
Brit raped at Oktoberfest while going to toilet
Photo: DPA
National
Revealed: Germany's military feet of clay
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Shutterstock
Society
Quiz: How good is your German?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Thousands take to Berlin's streets for marathon
Photo: DPA
Society
'Incest should be legal,' says ethics board
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten noises that sound very different in German
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: Can you pass the German citizenship test?
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

3,157
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd