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Germany

Court bans counter-demo against neo-Nazis

A Hanover court has given the go-ahead for a neo-Nazi march in a northern German town on Saturday, but blocked a counter-demonstration over fears of violence. Trade unionists have strongly condemned the verdict.

A group of far-right activists, viewed from behind

The far-right is marching to mourn wartime Nazis

A Hanover court has approved a planned neo-Nazi march in a town in the state of Lower Saxony this weekend, but prohibited a trade union counter-demonstration from taking place.

Right-wing extremists will hold a "funeral march" on Saturday in Bad Nenndorf, where British occupying forces interrogated Nazis between 1945 and 1947, and reportedly abused their detainees.

The Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) was planning to march in opposition, and described the administrative court's decision to stop them as an "incredible ruling."

Counter-demonstrators

Counter-demos against neo-Nazis are common in Germany

"A very sad day for civil society," said a statement from the DGB. "But also a further incentive for us to proceed yet further against right-wing extremism."

Threat to public order

The court decided in favor of the neo-Nazi march, as it was organized first and was judged to present less of a threat to public order. Around 1,000 Nazi sympathizers are expected, while the DGB said it was expecting up to 2,000 participants.

The large number of participants for both sides caused the Schaumburg district court to originally block both demonstrations. District official Ursula Mueller-Kratz explained that the decision was made because an adequate number of police were not available to ensure safety.

But the Hanover administrative court ruled on Thursday that a police presence of around 2,000 officers was sufficient to oversee one demonstration.

Neo-Nazi forces have been commemorating the mistreatment of prisoners in Bad Nenndorf since 2006, with the annual events increasing in popularity every year.

Tom Sheldrick (epd/AFP/dpa/AP)
Editor: Ben Knight

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