Neo-Nazis to march as Dresden marks bombing
Dresden on Wednesday braced for potentially violent protests against a neo-Nazi march on the 68th anniversary of the Allied bombing of the eastern German city.
Some 3,000 police from across Germany will be present to try and keep around 1,000 fascists away from an estimated 10,000 demonstrators.
“The police considers its duty to be a neutral party guaranteeing the freedom of assembly,” said Dresden Police Chief Dieter Kroll, according to public broadcaster MDR.
Far-right extremists gather in Dresden each February 13th to condemn the firebombing that nearly completely destroyed the city only months before the end of World War II. But local residents have challenged the neo-Nazi hijacking of the date for their propaganda purposes.
Saxony’s state premier Stanislaw Tillich and Dresden’s Mayor Helma Orosz on Friday called for a peaceful commemoration of the city’s destruction 68 years ago.
“I hope that many people will take part in the remembrances and human chain in the city,” Tillich said, referring to the year effort to peacefully block the path of the neo-Nazi march.
The massive Allied bombing raid on Dresden in February 1945 killed thousands of civilians even though it was strategically unnecessary at the time with Hitler’s forces nearly defeated.
The number of those who were killed has also been controversial, with an official estimate lowered to 25,000 a few years ago. Prior to that, hundreds of thousands where thought to have died in the raid.