Locals in German town buy all the beer in protest against neo-Nazis

Residents in an eastern German town found a novel way of protesting against neo-Nazis – by buying up beer.

Locals in German town buy all the beer in protest against neo-Nazis
Residents in Ostritz buying the beer. Photo: DPA

Their action at the weekend was aimed at fans attending a far-right German rock festival called Schild und Schwert Festival (Shield and Sword or SS) in Ostritz, a small town in Saxony on the German-Polish border.

Police had seized 4,400 liters of beer from festival-goers after an alcohol ban was imposed by a court near Dresden, which ruled the event had an “aggressive character”. The court felt there was a risk that alcohol could make violence more likely.

Saxony police tweeted that they had confiscated alcoholic beverages.

But locals suspected that fans heading to the festival – known for “Rechtsrock” music, which promotes white nationalism – would head to the supermarket instead to stock up on alcohol.

READ ALSO: Eight police hurt in clashes at far-right gig in Germany

So they reacted by buying up more than 200 crates of beer, leaving the festival attendees thirsty.

A resident taking part in the beer protest in Ostritz. Photo: DPA

An Ostritz activist, Georg Salditt, told German daily Bild: “The plan was devised a week in advance. We wanted to dry the Nazis out. We thought, if an alcohol ban is coming, we'll empty the shelves at (the German supermarket chain) Penny.”

Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung daily estimated that 500-600 fans attended the festival, compared with some 1,200 last year.

About 1,400 police were deployed at the festival, including hundreds from other parts of Germany. Saxony regional police said the operation went smoothly and there were just a few minor incidents.

Now locals in Ostritz, a town of about 2,300, are being praised for their action. A commentary in Spiegel ran with the headline, “Prost, Ostritz!” (cheers, Ostritz).

Tensions have been flaring up in Germany – and in the eastern state of Saxony in particular – following Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to keep borders open during the height of the refugee crisis in 2015.

A series of far-right demonstrations rocked the Saxon city of Chemnitz last year.

READ ALSO: Man goes on trial over killing that sparked protests in Chemnitz

“We are glad that we were able to set an example of civic action,” Michael Schlitt, one of the organizers of the protest in Ostritz told DPA.

And now the locals have a lot of beer stored up, they are planning their own festival. “We will have a wonderful celebration shortly,” said Schlitt.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Saxony’s Covid rules get mixed reaction from the vaccine hesitant

The eastern German state of Saxony may have ordered tough restrictions on the unvaccinated to push them to get the Covid-19 jab, but shop assistant Sabine Lonnatzsch, 59, is unmoved.

People queue at a vaccination centre in Radeberg, eastern Germany, to get a Covid vaccination without an appointment, on November 8th.
People queue at a vaccination centre in Radeberg, eastern Germany, to get a Covid vaccination without an appointment, on November 8th. Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP

The new rules are “discriminatory” because they are “pushing the unvaccinated further into a corner,” she says. 

Lonnatzsch won’t change her mind about getting inoculated – she just won’t go to restaurants or events anymore.

“I’ve had corona cases in my family and in my eyes it is nothing more than a bad flu,” she says.

With Covid-19 infections rocketing in Germany, Saxony this week became the first to largely exclude unvaccinated people from indoor dining, cinemas and bars.

READ ALSO: Germany divided over Covid restrictions for the unvaccinated 

The new rules, likely to be emulated by other states in the coming weeks, are designed not only to reduce the spread of Covid-19 but also to encourage more people to get inoculated.

But Lonnatzsch is not the only one resisting the jab in the town of Radeberg in Bautzen district, which has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country at just 45.7 percent.

The clothing store No 1 Mode where she works has a sign in the window that lets customers know that all are welcome – regardless of vaccination status.

‘Bad for business’

Across the town square, the co-owner of Cafe Roethig also has no plans to get the vaccine. Like many people in the region, Carola Roethig, 58, is “not convinced” by the jab because “it was developed in such a short space of time”.

The district of Bautzen has one of the highest incidence rates in the country at 645.3 cases per 100,000 people, but Roethig is not worried about catching the virus.

People queue at a vaccination centre in Radeberg, Saxony.
People queue at a vaccination centre in Radeberg, Saxony. Photo: TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP

The new rules are “definitely bad for business,” she says at the cafe’s bakery counter, which is lined with untouched fresh cakes, tarts and iced donuts.

“Many of our customers are not vaccinated, so we are losing income, because fewer people are coming in,” she says.


The rules are also bad for her personal life.

“I’m not allowed to go to a restaurant in the evening and have a nice dinner with my husband. I don’t think it is right,” says Roethig.

Outside the cafe, 40-year-old Susan feels the same.

“Nothing would convince me” to get the jab, she says, without giving her last name.

“I see no sense in it because (vaccinated people) can still get the disease and infect others.”

Vaccine push

The new rules come as new infections surge in Germany, with the national incidence rate reaching 213.7 cases per 100,000 people over the past seven
days on Tuesday – a record since the pandemic began.

The political parties looking to form a coalition government after September’s election have so far ruled out compulsory vaccinations and general
lockdowns to tackle the surge.

But with just 67 percent of the population fully jabbed, ministers say encouraging more people to get vaccinated is key to bringing the numbers down.

Outside Radeberg town hall, a modest queue of people formed for a vaccination event organised to encourage more people to get the jab.

Kitchen assistant Mirmirza Kabirzada, 36, had previously hesitated because “I heard that many people died in Norway and others got a fever, so I was a little bit afraid”.

But with the numbers rising so dramatically, “now I realised this is very important,” he says.

AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine has been linked to very rare and potentially fatal blood clots, but experts agree that the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Intensive care nurse Nicole Wieberneit, 39, is waiting in line to get her booster.

She is optimistic that the new rules will encourage more people to get vaccinated.

“When it becomes about the freedom to travel, to go out to eat, I think more people will come forward. Freedom is very important to people in Saxony,” she says.