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Neo-Nazi rock concert draws some 2,000, plus counterdemos

June 10, 2018

Police registered dozens of criminal offenses and infractions at Germany's largest neo-Nazi rock concert. Opponents were disappointed that the courts did not stop the event going ahead.

Themar Rechtsrock Festival „Tage der nationalen Bewegung“
Image: picture-alliance/dpa

Nearly 2,000 neo-Nazis attended Germany's largest right-wing rock festival on Saturday. Several hundred people protested the concert.

By Saturday night, police had registered 55 criminal offenses and minor infractions at the event in the town of Themar, located in Thuringia in central Germany. 

Read more'Not a neo-Nazi club': Energie Cottbus supporters battling right-wing image

In 33 cases criminal proceedings were opened for the use of anti-constitutional symbols, including the swastika and Hitler salute, which are illegal in Germany. On Friday one photojournalist was attacked.

The two-day rock concert, which goes into Sunday night, is the largest right-wing extremist rock festival in Germany. Last year it drew nearly 6,000 people.

About 300 people gathered near the rock concert grounds in protest. Politicians from the Social Democrats and the Greens were among those joining the demonstrations.

Protesters unfurled banners reading "Nazis out" and "Your ideology kills."

They also placed 20 white crosses into the ground near the rock festival site to symbolize the victims of neo-Nazi violence. Since 1990, 193 people have been killed in right-wing violence.

Many demonstrators and politicians were disappointed that the courts did not prevent the rock fest.

The courts allowed the event and even undid a strict alcohol ban.

Right-wing extremist rock concerts are often registered as political events and are therefore protected under the constitution.

Figures from the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany attended and spoke at the event.

Read more: Angela Merkel's Cabinet greenlights motion to cut off far-right NPD from state funding 

 cw/bw (dpa, epd)

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