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Germany

Sharp Rise in Neo-Nazis in Germany

German Interior Minister Otto Schily said Tuesday there had been a sharp rise in the number of neo-Nazis in Germany over the past year. The number of extremists displaying neo-Nazi sympathies rose more than 25 percent between 2003 and 2004, from 3,000 to 3,800, Schily said at a press conference to present the findings of the domestic intelligence service in 2004. These extremists consider themselves to be "the fighters of a 'German Reich' which contains no foreigners or Jews and is led by a Führer," the interior ministry report said. The intelligence services also recorded a rise of more than 10 percent in the number of crimes committed by the extreme-right, such as attacks on immigrants and denial of the Holocaust. The figure was 12,051 offences in 2004 compared with 10,792 the year before. The total number of far-right extremists prone to violence remained the same at around 10,000, with around half living in the former East Germany, where unemployment is higher. The report added that neo-Nazi supporters were playing an increasing role in the National Democratic Party (NPD), which caused shockwaves when it won more than nine percent of the votes in an election in the eastern state of Saxony last September. Schily described the election result as "shameful."

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