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Germany

Anti-Nazi Rally in Germany Ahead of Hess Death Anniversary

The small southern German town of Wunsiedel held a Festival of Democracy Saturday to register its opposition to neo-Nazis who have demonstrated in the town in years past to commemorateNazi leader Rudolf Hess.

A row of colorfully painted women with balloons

People in Wunsiedel have held colorful protests for years to counter neo-Nazis

In nearby Warmensteinach, around 2,000 gathered for a more general protest against the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) and to demonstrate against the sale of a local cafe to the NPD.

From 2001 to 2004, German right-wing extremists gathered in Wunsiedel to mark the day of Hess's death which falls on Aug. 17, until a court ban put a stop to the celebrations. Hess lies buried in the northern Bavarian town.

The Wunsiedel democracy festival was being held for the fourth year in a row to express support for the ban, which the right wing has tried to overturn.

Local police said NPD supporters had largely adhered to the court ban. Three carloads of party supporters had been stopped and told to turn around, a police spokesman said.

After World War II, Hess, who was Hitler's deputy until flying on a mysterious mission to Britain in 1941, received a life sentence at the Nuremberg Trials. He hanged himself at the age of 93 in Spandau prison in Berlin in1987.

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