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Sunday, January 19, 2014
Neo-Nazis get no peace in Magdeburg
from Dan Armstrong
The city of Magdeburg lies near what was the old west-east border. During the last war it was seriously damaged and almost the entire city centre was destroyed. The raid took place on 16th January 1945 just a few weeks before the German surrender. For the past few years, German NeoNazis have been using this date for organising their parades.
But 2014 was different. Over 170 parties, clubs, unions schools and more organised anti-Nazi events with vigils, exhibitions, dances. Ten thousand citizens took part in sixteen milestone marches and rallies to protest against the extreme right. In front of the main railway station the mayor addressed a rally of 800 anti-Nazis and the leader of the regional parliament called on the people not to yield an inch to the right. At the sixteen milestones, ministers called on the people to make attempts at Nazi marches or meetings very unpleasant.
The occupation of a bridge prevented a march but the police cleared the blockade by the anti-Nazis; later the police broke up an ad hoc meeting of a hundred Nazis. They were escorted out the town by police All in all, the extreme right was only able to mobilise 700 supporters and were vastly outnumbered by the local people. The attempts to outlaw the NPD have been slowed and stuck for months but the process is continuing. The party could be banned this year. In its place, there will certainly be substitutes like Die Rechte, mirroring the name of Die Linke. And local nationalist groups will continue their activities. Legal measures may help slightly by denying the NPD voters money from elections but mass direct action remains the only real method of combating the menace.