• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Protesters stop neo-Nazi march after 200 metres

J. Arthur White · 28 Apr 2014, 08:50

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

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 news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

J. Arthur White (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Berlin puts spies on tighter leash after NSA scandal
An installation of the BND in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Germany on Tuesday approved new measures to rein in the activities of its foreign intelligence agency after a scandal over improper collusion with the US National Security Agency.

Brexit vote
There's no way back for Britain, says 'sad' Merkel
Angela Merkel (r) and David Cameron in Brussels. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the EU summit in Brussels late on Tuesday that she didn't see any way that the British decision to leave the EU could be reversed.

Brexit vote
British business owner in Germany: why I support Brexit
Alexander McWhinney, owner of The English Shops. Photo: Private.

Scottish business owner Alexander McWhinney tells The Local why he supported the vote for a Brexit despite being an expat - much to the surprise of employees at his stores in the Rhineland.

Germany seeks seat on UN security council
The United Nations Security Council. Photo: DPA

Berlin last had a seat at the highest table of international security in 2011-12. Now the Foreign Minister has announced that Germany wants the role again.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Britain can’t cherry-pick Brexit terms
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that the EU could survive a Brexit and warned Britain the union would not tolerate "cherry-picking" in upcoming negotiations on their future relations.

This film makes Darmstadt look more romantic than Paris
The Russian Orthodox Church in Darmstadt. Source: City, Light and Movement.

Not quite sure where Darmstadt is? A short film shot by a Syrian refugee will have you rushing to locate it on a map.

VW agrees to $14.7 bn payout in US emissions probe
Photo: DPA

Volkswagen has agreed to pay out $14.7 billion in a settlement with US authorities and car owners in the probe over its emissions-cheating diesel-powered cars, court documents showed Tuesday.

Brexit vote
Left leader calls for German referendum on EU deals
Left Party leader Sahra Wagenknecht. Photo: DPA.

The left-wing leader of the official opposition party in Germany said that it’s time the German people also have a say on what goes on in Brussels.

Teacher overpaid quarter of a million euros. No one notices
Photo: DPA

The Düsseldorf teacher was paid a full-time salary for six years, despite only working part time.

Euro 2016
Germans react with glee to England’s Iceland humiliation
Distraught England players after Iceland defeat. photo: DPA

Still upset by their British brothers voting for Brexit, Germans expressed an overwhelming sense of Schadenfreude at England's Euro 2016 exit.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
7,865
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd