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Germany

Debate on Demonstration Rights Intensifies

German Interior Minister Otto Schily's plans to limit Germany's right of assembly are drawing increased opposition from the ruling coalition of Social Democrats and Greens. According to reports in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Schily plans to forbid neo-Nazi demonstrations at places that "remember the victims of organized, inhumane treatment, and which are seen as national symbols for such treatment." The Greens' expert for interior affairs said her party rejected any changes to the existing laws on the right of assembly, and added that the far right NPD party should not be given the power to restrict this freedom for any other group. The head of the parliamentary internal affairs committee, Cornelie Sonntag-Wolgast (SPD), reacted similarly, saying that the right to demonstrate was added to the German constitution because of the restrictions that were in place under the Nazi regime. She added that the current debate about how to deal with the provocation posed by the NPD should not be compressed into a debate on altering laws.

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