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Germany: Dresden declares 'Nazi emergency'

Chase Winter
November 1, 2019

Dresden, the city that spawned the anti-Islam and xenophobic PEGIDA movement, has declared a "Nazi emergency." The local politician who initiated the resolution claimed the city had a real problem that needed tackling.

PEGIDA rally in Dresden.
Image: Imago Images/S. Ellger

The eastern German city of Dresden has passed a resolution declaring a "Nazi emergency."

In a policy statement passed by the city council on Wednesday night, councilors noted that "anti-democratic, anti-pluralist, misanthropic and right-wing-extremist attitudes and actions, including violence in Dresden, are occurring with increasing frequency."

"We have a Nazi problem in Dresden and have to do something about it," said Max Aschenbach, a councilor for Die Partei, a satirical political party, who initiated the measure.

"Politics must finally begin to ostracize that and say: No, that's unacceptable," he told local public broadcaster MDR.

Bastion of far right

The anti-Islam and xenophobic PEGIDA movement began in the city in 2014. PEGIDA, which stands in German for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, organizes regular rallies in the city. 

Dresden is located in the state of Saxony, a stronghold of the far-right Alternative For Germany (AfD). The party came in second in state elections in September.

Countering right-wing extremism

Among other things, the resolution calls on the city and civil society organizations to strengthen a democratic culture, protect minority and human rights, and help the victims of right-wing violence.

It calls for a focus on "fighting the causes of far-right attitudes and their consequences, such as anti-Semitism, racism and Islamophobia, and on restoring the trust in democratic institutions and the appreciation of diversity and respectful solidarity."

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