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Germany

Quarrel Over May 8 Celebrations

The German government and the oppositional conservative parties are again in disagreement about the dealings with the controversial right-wing party NPD. Volker Kauder, secretary general for the Christian Democratic Union, rejected Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's suggestion to hold the commemoration ceremony for the 60th anniversary of German capitulation on May 8 at the Brandenburg Gate instead of the Reichstag, the newsmagazine Der Spiegel reported on Thursday. With the suggested switch of localities, the chancellor intends to counteract announced marches by neo-nazis at the historical Berlin sight. "I would consider it a miserable message, if the Bundestag was going to let itself be driven out of the Reichstag by the NPD", Kauder told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. In his opinion, changing places does not solve the problem of assemblies by right-wing radicals. Kauder is open towards another kind of protest event at the Brandenburg Gate on May 8 and expressed his confidence that the NPD is not going to march in the end. But he regards stronger restrictions on the right to assemble as the only way to deal with the problem.

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