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Thousands protest neo-Nazis on May Day

DPA/The Local · 1 May 2010, 19:34

Published: 01 May 2010 19:34 GMT+02:00

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Fearing riots, police across Germany made efforts to separate leftist and neo-Nazi demonstrators in several cities across Germany.

In Berlin, neo-Nazis and people from the far-left spent hours vying for control of May Day demonstration routes through the German capital, although by early evening on Saturday, confrontations had mostly ended peacefully.

Violence, with brawls between leftists and rightists, burning barricades and damage to banks and shops, has been an annual ritual on May Day for more than two decades in Berlin, Hamburg and other German cities.

In Berlin, about 500 of the far-rightists marched through a northern district of the capital, although they were outnumbered by thousands of opponents.

Police had expected around 3,000 neo-Nazis to march, and some 7,000 police were deployed along with a water cannon.

Leftists claimed 10,000 people had turned up to confront the neo-Nazis.

Their 6-kilometre route had been approved by police under German

laws protecting the constitutional right of everyone to demonstrate.

The far-right march began two hours late after leftists blocked the road. Riot police roughly handled some of those obstructing the route, among them the deputy speaker of the German parliament, Wolfgang Thierse, a Social Democrat.

But at one point, police made the right-wing marchers turn around after it became clear they could not clear the streets along the entire route.

Another 300 far-rightists, including people from Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic, suddenly showed up in western part of the city, apparently intent on an unauthorized march down Kurfürstendamm boulevard. Police reported the rightists harassed people who looked foreign and threw bottles and stones at officers. Around 250 of them were arrested.

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More than 13,000 people protested in Würzburg and Schweinfurt against right-wing extremism. Some 800 neo-Nazis gathered in Schweinfurt.

In Zwickau in Saxony, police reported several injuries after supporters of the far-right NPD party threw stones at leftists. Some 1,500 had gathered to protest the extreme right.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

21:35 May 1, 2010 by SophiaH
Germany and other nations need to stop these communist agitators

and allow people who have a different view to hold peaceful demos

and marches. Not to stop the communists is condoning their violent behavior and publically stated beliefs that its OK to do physical violence to those they call "neo-nazis"

Germany needs to throw off the yoke of communism that is ruling there

since the end of WW2. Germany needs to allow freedom of speech and THINKING. Yes its almost as bad in usa.
22:25 May 1, 2010 by ilyushenko

The very fact that you put "neo-nazis" in inverted commas indicates that, at best, you are utterly incompetent and ill-informed about history, or, at worst, that you are a right-wing, fascist.

If you, for one dreadful second, believe that giving these bastards "freedom of speech" is somehow a credit to democracy, then I will gladly take you on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau to give you an education on "free-speech".

Let me know.
22:36 May 1, 2010 by Prufrock2010
People who conflate anti-Nazis with "communists" only demonstrate two things: (1) their ignorance, and (2) their Nazi proclivities. Sophia, you have identified yourself.
22:36 May 1, 2010 by dpcjpm
Hey, SophiaH, are you one of these "people who have a different view" who want to hold "peaceful demos", one of the so called "neo-nazis", in your words?

If not, have you ever experienced an extreme right demonstration? There's nothing peaceful about these marches if you look at the people involved, see the flags and banners they wave and listen to what they shout while marching "peacefully".

The violence is there long before the first anti-nazi protester (communist agitators one and all, of course) puts up his hood, adjusts his scarf and prepares to abuse, physically or verbally, the poor peaceful "neo-nazis".

If so, then why bother to leave an "anti communist agitator" comment here? You don't have and won't receive much public support. It's a fact that nazism, neo or old, is founded on hatred and violence and is therefore wrong and evil.

As for free speech, like everything else - it has its price and there are rules, governed by common sense mostly.
22:44 May 1, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I'm extremely encouraged to see such a robust turnout against the Nazis. Maybe there is some hope.
00:43 May 2, 2010 by wmm208
Today is nothing. All the violent hates will come out when Merkel has to send hard earned German tax money to save Europe. That will happen within the next few weeks. pay, pay, pay.... Schade...
09:08 May 2, 2010 by Zobirdie
You know... I find it very interesting that so many of you are all for freedom of speech until it is someone you don't like.

If one person has it, everyone has it even if you despise what they have to say.

Neither the extreme left nor the extreme right have any interest in allowing people to speak there minds. People seem to forget that.

And I'm far more afraid of the Antifa than the Neos. I hate the Neos as much as the next person, but there are far fewer of them and the antifa seem to have far freer reign because extreme leftism is somehow more socially acceptable.

@Wmm - too right!
21:37 May 2, 2010 by Bruno53
Well, you Germans have your "neo Nazis". We here in the USA we have "tea baggers". Any more comments?
21:59 May 2, 2010 by wxman
You're right, Bruno. I personnaly saw a black man beaten to the ground by a couple of brown shirt thugs a few months ago at a rally in St. Louis. All the while they were referring to him using racial epithets. There's film of it on YouTube. BTW, this was carried out by the fascist SEIU who are frequently dispatched to quash any anti-government dissent that should rear it's ugly head.
22:40 May 2, 2010 by Talonx
@ Bruno53

Sadly we also have more neo-nazis per capita in the states :( .
23:28 May 2, 2010 by cobalisk
@ wxman - SEIU.. that is a union in the US, the Service Employees International Union. Not Fascist's and certainly not government enforcers. Are you referring to a different SEIU? Because the SEIU is a staunch labor advocate in the US comprised of everyday employees, hardly jack-booted thugs.
02:30 May 3, 2010 by wmm208
Tea Party is nonsense.. lets get back to the Nazis. How do they still live and breath in the German state after what transpired some 70 years ago? It seems that they are more popular in the East German towns where women and populations have left in droves. I guess with no work, no women, you find uber alles. Well, thats sad. germany has come a long way but it seems that these people are taking over German cities by the droves. They have also gained in popularity in the eastern european cities such as Poland, Czech, Hungary and the Baltics. I wonder if the Russian agenda which is spreading from the East to West currently in Europe will surpass these angry people but then again, I think Russia could finally put Europe in her place in the next few years.
07:28 May 3, 2010 by Talonx
@ wmm208

Most of it is the fault of those who unified Germany in 1990. Unemployment oftne leads to sharp rises in gang membership and in 1990 everybody in the East was forced into unemployment following policies that would try to turn the East into an unplanned economy in less than 5 years time. As far as their popularity goes they aren't really gaining, which is interesting given even the population relaxation.
11:58 May 3, 2010 by michael4096
Unhappy people always turn to extremist ideologies, political or religious, because they promise radical change. If you feel that nothing could be worse than today then it makes a sort of sense. Though, often, radical does turn out worse than today. This is true in every country.

So, if you want to further your party - whatever your radical ideology - don't appeal to logic, appeal to fear because that always makes people unhappy: immigrants are always a good target, islam in a christian country and vice versa, wessis in eastern germany and vice versa, communists in the 'west' and vice versa, europe in britain, and if your voters are poor try rich jews like 1930s germany.

And, if your voters are still not unhappy enough, a few bombs should do it.
16:49 May 3, 2010 by Beachrider
Everyone should put their flamethrowers away for a minute. In this topic, a number of folks wanted to confront Neo-Nazis. They probably wanted to do two things. First, they wanted the Neo-Nazis to stop trying to drum up support for their positions. Second, they wanted the German population (and beyond) to know that there was a large body of folks that oppose Neo-Nazi positions.

Things are not bad in Germany right now, so the extremist position hypotheses really don't apply. If this is the Easterners vs the Westerners again, that DOES need to get nailed down. It is really embarrassing for folks to be doubting the progress for German reunification. That reunification is taken for granted by far too many folks. It is one of the most important things happening in Germany for the last 50 years!
00:22 May 5, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Peschvogel wrote:

"They have also gained in popularity in the eastern european cities such as Poland, Czech, Hungary and the Baltics."

I sure wouldn't want to travel to those cities.

Peschvogel has morphed from an economics scholar to a geography scholar. His commentary is always enlightening.
19:07 May 10, 2010 by Talonx
@ Prufrock2010

With geography skills like that he probably accidently left Europe, instead of emmigrating as he has in the past claimed.
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