Small German town celebrates as neo-Nazis abandon march | News | DW | 07.08.2016
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Small German town celebrates as neo-Nazis abandon march

Far-right extremists have held marches in the small German town of Bad Nenndorf for years. But this time, persistent counterprotesters seem to have won the day with a cheerful display of resistance.

The town of Bad Nenndorf in the German state of Lower Saxony is celebrating what would seem to be a victory over neo-Nazis after a far-right march was called off.

Peaceful opponents of far-right extremism were the only protesters to be found on the town's streets on Saturday, as many years of resistance to neo-Nazis apparently bore fruit.

A "funeral march" planned for the day by neo-Nazis was cancelled three weeks ago, with no reason being given.

But organizers from the local alliance "Bad Nenndorf ist bunt" ("Bad Nenndorf is diverse") said the cancellation was largely due to years of creative protest by citizens against the event, which has been taking place in the town since 2006 - and is theoretically scheduled to occur until 2030.

This year, Bad Nenndorfers held a church service, bicycle parade and street festival in the town, "more like a party with a summery, peaceful atmosphere than the protest event that was originally planned," said police chief Michael Panitz.

Bad Nenndorf Demonstration gegen Rechtsextremismus

Bad Nenndorfers have given free rein to their creativity: "Let's stop more Nazis together"

Imaginative protests

Previous years have seen the neo-Nazis being greeted by German folk music and confetti. On one occasion, they even became unwilling participants in a fundraiser, with 10 euros ($11.09) donated to "Exit," an organization that helps people break with far-right extremism, for every minute they spent in the town.

Demonstration von Neonazis in Bad Nenndorf ARCHIV 14.08.2010

The neo-Nazis have registered their march till 2030

Right-wing extremists from all over the country have formerly converged on the town for the march, which commemorates the reported abuse of Nazi prisoners by British occupying forces between 1945 and 1947.

Critics of the neo-Nazis say that the poor treatment of some of the prisoners at the former Wincklerbad internment camp in the town is taken out of proportion by the far-right extremists, who regularly compare the abuse with mass murder carried out by the Nazi regime.

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