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Dresden forms human chain against neo-Nazis

DDP/The Local · 14 Feb 2010, 09:53

Published: 13 Feb 2010 16:47 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Feb 2010 09:53 GMT+01:00

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And among the estimated 15,000 anti-Nazi protesters, many banded together to force the 6,400 neo-Nazis who gathered at Neustadt train station to abandon their plans to hold a ''funereal march'' through the city.

"We have for the first time succeeded in preventing the biggest neo-Nazi march in Europe," said Lena Roth of the "Dresden without Nazis" alliance of politicians, artists and unionists.

Police, who deployed nearly 5,700 men, said late Saturday that clashes broke out on several occasions resulting in "at least 27 injured, including 15 policemen" as stones and bottles were thrown.

But they said the neo-Nazis were not able to stage the march as their opponents blocked highways, crossroads and railway lines.

About 30 people were arrested during the day from the two camps, police


A brawl erupted at a road stop near the Saxon town of Plauen between about 150 left-wing and 50 right-wing extremists, all of whom were on their way to respective demonstrations. Three neo-Nazis – one aged 16, the others both 24 – were injured in the brawl, a police spokesman said.

Police also had to deploy water cannon after they were attacked, a spokesman said, though he was unable to give details.

Neo-Nazis have for years marked the bombing of Dresden to show that Germans were the victims as well as the instigators of brutality during World War II. The 1945 bombing, which killed 25,000 people and destroyed most of the city, is widely considered to have been militarily unnecessary.

On Saturday, the left-wing demonstrators had blocked streets, including the road between the main train station and the Neustädter station.

Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz, who organised the human chain, told the crowd: “We stand against the attempt by old and young Nazis, to abuse this day of mourning.”

Story continues below…

The memorial day was for Dresden traditionally a “quiet day of mourning,” she said. But it had to be remembered, she said, “who had started that accursed war.”

By forming the human chain, the city had “become a fortress against intolerance and stupidity,” she said.

Saxony Premier Stanislaw Tillich also took part in the chain. As the two ends linked to form a ring, the bells of the old city’s churches rang.

About 200 people – among them neo-Nazis including representatives of the far-right National Democratic Party – gathered in the Heidefriedhof cemetery to lay wreaths.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:42 February 13, 2010 by bernie1927
I think it is appropriate to memorialize the terrible and totally unnecessary terror attack by the allies but, that said, it is unfortunate that a bunch of hooligans has to try to dishonor this day and, by the way I think that calling these misfits "neo Nazis" is wrong. They just want the shock effect of the word "Nazi", but they have absolutely nothing to do with National Socialism; they wouldn't be able to explain the concept behind that movement. Why don't you call them what they are, German Red Neck hooligans.
18:46 February 13, 2010 by wxman
There is no such thing as a "teror attack" against a totally evil and vile enemy such as the Nazis. And don't tell me these were innocent civilians. They weren't innocent. They allowed the devil to be unleashed upon the earth and even supported him. No one can rule over a country without the consent and cooperation of the citizenry. As for this chain, it's a nice liberal attempt at appearing to stand up against evil; it won't work. I recommend baseball bats.
20:03 February 13, 2010 by The-ex-pat
bernie1927, if the bombing of Dresden was a terror attack, what was The Blitz?

The Blitz was the SUSTAINED bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941. While the Blitz hit many towns and cities across the country, it began with the bombing of London for 57 CONSECUTIVE nights. By the end of May 1941, over 43,000 civilians, half of them in London, had been killed by bombing and more than a million houses were destroyed or damaged in London alone. London was not the only city to suffer Luftwaffe bombing during the Blitz. Other important military and industrial centres, such as Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Clydebank, Coventry, Exeter, Greenock, Sheffield, Swansea, Liverpool, Hull (the most heavily bombed city outside of London), Manchester, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Nottingham, Brighton, Eastbourne, Sunderland and Southampton, suffered heavy air raids and high numbers of casualties. Adolf Hitler's aim was to destroy British civilian and governmental morale or had all this skipped your mind
20:56 February 13, 2010 by Brugge
And is not the blitz also remembered as something horrible? Hundreds of thousands of civilians were bombed by both sides, I'll admit both were a horrible thing, but you defending the bombing of dresden and even calling the civilians "evil" is absolutely ridiculous and you should feel ashamed of yourself. Germany was in ruins following WW1 and needed a quick and strong fix. There was starvation and a failed economic system (the money was worthless) extremely high unemployment and so desperate times called for desperate measures. I'm not sure the populous elected them on the platform of "JA JA JA WE ARE EVIL". Hundreds of thousands of civilians were burned by firebombs (which I guess IS kind of low compared to the mass killings and rapes committed by the Russians) Hitler was no worse than Stalin was, but YES dammit, those civilians were innocent. You would burn women and children because you don't like their king?
00:33 February 14, 2010 by mid503
'It may be Inconvenient History but England rather than Germany initiated the murderous slaughter of bombing civilians thus bringing about retaliation. Chamberlain conceded that it was "absolutely contrary to International law." It began in 1940 and Churchill believed it held the secret of victory. He was convinced that raids of sufficient intensity could destroy Germany's morale, and so his War Cabinet planned a campaign that abandoned the accepted practice of attacking the enemy's armed forces and, instead made civilians the primary target. Night after night, RAF bombers in ever increasing numbers struck throughout Germany, usually at working class housing, because it was more densely packed.' - The Peoples' War, Angus Calder. London, Jonathan Cape, 1969.

The bombing of Dresden was heinous, barbaric war crime. The recently 'corrected' figure of only 25,000 dead is a laughable farce intended to minimize any sympathy for German civilans slaughtered by allied forces.
03:41 February 14, 2010 by DavidtheNorseman
Germany started the bombing of civilians in WWI and started it again in WWII.

These things are now history. The present generation of Germans must make its own choices about how it will live with its neighbours. It is very laudable that these brave people in Dresden are rejecting those fools who wish a return to the self-destructive militarism-for-its-own-sake that cost Germany so much in the last century.

May we all be as brave and wise as Mayor Orosz and the 10,000 when we are called upon to reject paths of self-immolation for our communities.
03:49 February 14, 2010 by Fredfeldman
The germans sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind. The citizens of a country are responsible for their government and the crimes it perpetrates for without their cooperation the government is powerless. Dresden was horrible but unfortunately it was exactly what the germans deserved.
04:51 February 14, 2010 by Brugge
So what you're saying is that in response to the Tiananmen square massacre we should bomb a Chinese village?
07:47 February 14, 2010 by Richard Hurlbrink
Dresden was a tragic loss of human life, mainly women and children. Anyone wishing to honor their loss and to remember the day should be allowed regardless if they are the left, right or whatever. I also find it sad and appalling that an individual would make such a statement saying ¦quot; these German got what they deserved¦quot;. A person who would made such a comment about the fiery slaughter of grand mothers, mothers and little children is mentally sick and has no right to condemn anyone. Today was a day to remember those who died, may they rest in peace.
12:09 February 14, 2010 by Fredfeldman
Dresden was a tragic loss of life as were the many millions of women and children murdered by the germans during WWII. The responsibility for those murders rests directly with the german people who can not avoid it by claiming that is was just "those nazis". What happened in Dresden was a direct result of the war crimes committed by the german nation in pursuing its evil goal of world domination at any cost. The horrible part was that reaching that goal was a very closely run thing.
12:27 February 14, 2010 by michael4096
There is an awful lot of bad history regurgitated here.

However, the first rule of history is not to judge the past by the values of today. A much more meaningful discussion whether we think the end (a demoralized soldier at the front) is worth the means. And, if not, do we have enough safeguards in place to stop it - Dresden or blitz - happening again.
13:06 February 14, 2010 by nepo77
I dont think the British here should put any blame on WW2 on Germany, i mean initiating a food blockade to intentionally make people sick and starve to death is hardly a military decision. And even after WW1 ended the British kept the blockade up to force Germany into Versailles. The Result were 750 thousand civilian deaths.

13:07 February 14, 2010 by annaf
The story is factually incorrect.

The "human chain" was initiated by the mayor of Dresden and took place on the other side of the Elbe River from where the Neonazi march was supposed to take place. (Human chain people were in the Altstadt/Old City.) It did nothing to stop the Neonazis - no blocking, nothing, it was only symbolic, and was only intended to be symbolic.

On the other side of the Elbe River (in the Neustadt/New City) were several blockades initiated by an alliance of several groups and Dresden residents, including the left-leaning parties (Antifa) -- they were the ones who blocked the paths of the Neonazis so that they could not march and were forced to leave at 5 p.m.


By looking on a map of Dresden, one can see that it was geographically impossible for the "human chain" to block the Neonazi demonstration/march on the other side of the city/river.

The Saechsische Zeitung was more accurate in its reporting.

19:55 February 14, 2010 by anne k
#13 - Several news reports were misleading or got it completely wrong, and the BBC also managed to quote wildly inaccurate figures. I was in the human chain; we were about 2 km away from the Nazis on the other side of a river with bridges blocked by police. No clashing, no forcing, no blocking streets, though we did hold hands and block the traffic for about 15 minutes!
11:48 February 15, 2010 by Talonx
wxman, the definition of terror does not change no-matter the sympathies of those who were the victims.

fredfeldman, so this explains why we hung Japanese commanders for identical acts during WWII (acts which the U.S. would go on to repeat during the vietnam conflict)? Because, you're only allowed to firebomb civilians if they deserve it?

Sounds like you two lack a spam filter somewhere between your brain and your mouths. Think before you speak.
02:15 February 16, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, it's Ok to disagree with someone's political views.

And war is a rough business. But to say that innocent people desreved to die is immoral.
16:05 February 16, 2010 by tollermann
TALONX I am not sure what the deal is with you,

"fredfeldman, so this explains why we hung Japanese commanders for identical acts during WWII (acts which the U.S. would go on to repeat during the vietnam conflict)? Because, you're only allowed to firebomb civilians if they deserve it?"

The Japanese were brutal (expletive deleted) and they attacked Pearl Harbor first. As far as I am concerned the Japanese got what they deserved. They had been raping and pillaging asia since 1905 - what comes around goes around!

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