German neo-Nazis march in Czech town

Nearly 500 far-right militants from the Czech Republic and Germany rallied late Saturday to mark the 64th anniversary of punishing Allied air raids on the Czech city of Usti nad Labem, near the German border.

German neo-Nazis march in Czech town
Photo: DPA

No serious incidents were seen, as police kept a close eye on the protest that critics branded a pretext for marking Monday’s birth anniversary of Nazi German dictator Adolf Hitler.

Some 1,250 police officers, including 750 riot police, were mobilised, said police colonel Oldrich Zeman, in a security operation that included the seizure of guns, knives and baseball bats.

Police said they averted possible clashes between the neo-Nazis and some 200 counter-demonstrators, mainly anarchists.

“Police will be on the alert all night,” regional police spokeswoman Jarmila Hrubesova told AFP but would not give a figure of those arrested.

Most of the participants were young people dressed in black. They began their rally with speeches in Lidice Square, named in memory of a Czech village where German forces massacred all 192 menfolk in a June 1942 atrocity.

The protest was comparable to “a dance of the assassins, on the mass grave” of the victims of Nazism, said Miroslav Broz, a member of a local group opposed to the presence of neo-Nazis in Usti nad Labem.

Two months ago, nearly 6,000 neo-Nazis paraded through nearby Dresden, across the border in eastern Germany, to mark the Allied bombing of that city on February 13-14, 1945. Police made several dozen arrests.

Historians say Allied air raids on Usti nad Labem in April 1945, within days of the end of World War II, targeted the railway station — a strategic site for the Nazis after the Dresden bombings — as well as SS barracks and the local branch of the Nazi party.

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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.