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6,000-strong neo-Nazi music festival sparks call for ban on far-right gigs

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6,000-strong neo-Nazi music festival sparks call for ban on far-right gigs
A far-right flag at the "Rock against Foreign Domination" festival. Photo: DPA
17:21 CEST+02:00
More than 40 crimes were recorded at a far-right music festival in Thuringia over the weekend, including participants giving the Hitler salute. The state's left-wing leader now wants such festivals banned.

Police confirmed on Monday that they were investigating a video which they claim shows dozens of people repeatedly displaying the Hitler salute at the “Rock against Foreign Domination” music festival in the town of Themar. In the video the festival goers also appear to chant "Heil", a reference to the Nazi greeting "Sieg Heil."

The displaying of Nazi symbols is illegal in Germany, as is denial of the Holocaust and glorifying the Nazi era.

In total 46 crimes were recorded at the festival, at which around 6,000 people turned up. The crimes included the display of illegal symbols (a crime which relates to the display of Nazi symbols), bodily harm, threatening behaviour, and contravention of weapons laws.

Six people were arrested in the course of the day, while police took down the identities of a further 440 festival-goers.

On Sunday Thuringia's Minister President Bodo Ramelow of Die Linke (the Left Party) called for the law on public assemblies to be changed to obstruct such festivals in the future.

“I think we need to make the right to congregate more precise, so that the relevant authorities and courts can't waive these things off as freedom of opinion in the future,” he said.

“One can only look on sadly and helplessly when one sees how these people are able to hold their far-right music festival pretending to be protesters."

While the far-right groups were able to raise money for their causes, the state had to bear the costs of it taking place, Ramelow added.

Around 1,000 police officers guarded the festival, for which several hundred anti-Nazi protesters also turned up.

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