• 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
German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn
Photo: DPA

German bank sues Ecclestone for €345mn

German bank BayernLB is seeking €345 million ($423 million) in a lawsuit against Formula One magnate Bernie Ecclestone over the 2006 sale of the sport's rights, according to a report. READ  

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany
Joachim Löw holding the World Cup trophy. File photo: DPA

Löw aims for Euro 2016 with new-look Germany

World Cup winners Germany have suffered something of a hangover since their triumph in Brazil, but coach Joachim Löw is hoping a new-look side can go on to claim more glory at Euro 2016. READ  

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges
Photo: DPA

T-Mobile to pay $90 mn over US fraud charges

German mobile phone company T-Mobile has agreed to pay at least $90 million to settle US government claims that it bilked customers with bogus charges, US regulators said Friday. READ  

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law
Photo: DPA

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law

The German Ethics Council said the law should not be changed to permit assisted suicide in a paper published on Friday. READ  

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin
Swan Lake. An abandoned ride in the Spreewald pleasure park. Photo: DPA

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin

The iconic ruined themepark in the centre of Berlin - a long-time favourite of hipster adventurers - needs a clean-up costing at least 14 million euros, the Berlin government has revealed. READ  

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer
File photo of Nuremberg main station: Shutterstock

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer

Officers in Nuremberg arrested a man on Thursday evening after he called in a false bomb threat against the main train station READ  

Opinion
Angela, David...and Nigel
So near...and yet so far Photo: DPA

Angela, David...and Nigel

The rise of UKIP broke up what had been a good 2014 for Cameron and Merkel. READ  

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead
Dr Gunther von Hagens. Photo: DPA

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead

A Berlin court has said that infamous human taxidermist Gunther von Hagens can open a museum in the capital - over objections from local officials. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech
Photo: Phorms Education

Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech

As parents fret over children’s internet habits, a network of bilingual schools in Germany shows that putting computers in the classroom from an early age yields positive results. READ  

Networks scramble to patch mobile security
Chancellor Angela Merkel has herself been the victim of phone hacking. Photo: DPA

Networks scramble to patch mobile security

IT experts led by Berlin-based Karsten Nohl said on Thursday they had discovered security flaws in the mobile phone networks that would allow attackers to read users' messages. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
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

3,211
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd