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Thousands march against extreme-right NPD rally

November 23, 2019

National Democratic Party supporters have come together in Hanover to protest against journalists, but they were vastly outnumbered by counterdemonstrators. There were no serious clashes between the groups, police said.

Hanover demos
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/O. Spata

More than 7,000 people took to the streets of Hanover on Saturday as part of a demonstration to protect press freedom and against threats to journalists.

The march came in response to a rally organized by the extreme-right National Democratic Party (NPD) against journalists. Only around 120 people attended the NPD rally, according to the police.

The counterdemonstration in the northern German state of Lower Saxony was welcomed by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. He tweeted: "One can see what applies throughout Germany: The neo-Nazis and fear makers, who hound journalists, are in the minority. Thank you to everyone who is protesting peacefully today against this unworthy parade."

Lower Saxony Interior Minister Boris Pistorius and newly installed Hanover Lord Mayor Belit Onay attended the counterprotest while the state's premier, Stephan Weil, had asked people to come out against the right-wing march, citing unfair intimidation of reporters.

"Say it loud and clear: far-right agitation against journalists ... and press freedom are an attack on our democracy," Weil said.

Four arrests but few incidents

Police concerns over possible outbreaks of violence between the two groups were thus far allayed, though four arrests were made.

Hanover demos
The demonstration of the NPD against journalists, with a banner in support of Holocaust denier Ursula HaverbeckImage: Imago Images/Hartenfelser

Read more: 'Nazi Grandma' loses appeal in top German court over Holocaust denial sentence

Hanover police banned the right-wing extremist group from demonstrating, but late Friday the Higher Administrative Court overturned the initial decision, deciding the NPD had the right to protest.

The NPD had promoted their march by posting a picture online of a broadcast journalist who has done in-depth reporting about far-right movements in Germany.

jsi/sms (dpa, epd, AP)

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