According to the police, at least 110 Neo-Nazis met at the Mehringdamm U-Bahn station in western Kreuzberg – a district traditionally inhabited by people of Turkish descent, though now a trendy tourist-haven and increasingly sought-after area code.
The neo-Nazis had gathered under the banner “Truth will set you free”, and had intended to march around a kilometre south into the Tempelhof area. The police say around 350 people arrived to stop the demonstration.
One eye-witness said, “What I saw happen was 150 neo-Nazis prevented from marching by at least three times as many protesters on the anti-side, to the point where the neo-Nazis not only couldn’t march, but had to be escorted by police into the U-bahn, for their safety.”
Fights broke out, with several fireworks being set off, and several people were injured, including seven police officers. There were also a handful of arrests. The neo-Nazis were driven back into the U-Bahn station, where they reportedly attacked passengers.
A police spokesman declared the demonstration – which had been registered by an individual, rather than an organization – over at 1pm. Following that, several fights broke out between smaller groups until the neo-Nazi demonstrators were finally isolated and escorted away by police.
The Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Green Party said the demonstration had been successfully stopped by the anti-Nazi protesters, and criticized the police for only making the plans of the demonstration public on Friday.
“It’s a political scandal when the Berlin police holds back information about a Nazi march,” said Katrin Schmidberger, of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Green party, adding that not even the district’s Green party mayor had been informed. She also condemned the police’s use of pepper spray against peaceful demonstrators.