• Germany's news in English
 
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

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
Experts: Steinmeier's Egypt visit is 'wrong'
Frank-Walter Steinmeier with Abdel Fatah al-Sisi in Cairo. Photo:DPA

Experts: Steinmeier's Egypt visit is 'wrong'

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to Egypt on Monday - his first since Abdel Fatah el-Sisi came to power in a 2013 coup - has been condemned as "sad" and "wrong" by experts. READ  

Germany among top ten countries for mums

Germany among top ten countries for mums

Germany took eighth place worldwide in a ranking of the best countries for mothers released by Save the Children on Tuesday. READ  

Schäuble fears Greece deal may fall through
Photo: DPA

Schäuble fears Greece deal may fall through

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble expressed scepticism on Tuesday about whether Greece would be able to strike a deal with international creditors in the next few days on vital financial aid. READ  

Man jailed over kids' deaths in bath
The state court in Kassel. Photo: DPA

Man jailed over kids' deaths in bath

A court in Kassel sentenced a man to three years in jail on Monday after his children died in the bath while he was checking train times at the station. READ  

Elderly burglar foiled after losing glasses
Is Germany experiencing a pensioner crime wave? Photo: DPA

Elderly burglar foiled after losing glasses

One of Germany's oldest burglars has had to spend his 70th birthday in a police hospital after being caught during his latest break-in attempt. READ  

Nightclub owner bans 'aggressive' refugees
File photo: DPA

Nightclub owner bans 'aggressive' refugees

A Bavarian nightclub owner has introduced a ban on refugees after claiming that they were causing trouble in his establishment. READ  

Germans fathered by Allied soldiers speak out
Photos of one 'occupation child' and her parents. Photo: DPA

Germans fathered by Allied soldiers speak out

A quarter of a million Germans were fathered by Allied soldiers after the Second World War. Many have spent their lives not knowing their fathers and stigmatized by their own society. READ  

Supermarket meat needles were 'warning'
The woman speaks with her lawyer in the courtroom. Photo: DPA

Supermarket meat needles were 'warning'

A woman has admitted to a Lübeck court that she placed needles in meat packets in a supermarket in northern Germany, hoping to discourage them from eating mass-produced food. READ  

Train strikes
Drivers' walkout brings fresh rail misery
A man sits on a platform at Munich main station on Tuesday morning. Photo: DPA

Drivers' walkout brings fresh rail misery

The beginning of a six-day strike by train drivers on Tuesday left millions of people across Germany struggling to get to work on Monday morning. READ  

Jobtalk Germany
Are robots about to take away 18 million jobs?
Robots are set to wipe out large sectors of the work force. Photo:DPA

Are robots about to take away 18 million jobs?

A study commissioned by ING-Diba claims that 59 percent of Germany's work force could be replaced by machines and software in the coming decades. The impact on German society is set to be radical. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
Features
Off to Norway at 18 km/hour
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Gallery
German beer day: take the tour
Gallery
The smileys Germans love to text
National
Expats face Monday deadline to register to vote for UK election
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
Pupils mourn lost classmates
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
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

7,203
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd
?>