SPD expresses outrage over neo-Nazi marches in Dortmund | News | DW | 23.09.2018
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SPD expresses outrage over neo-Nazi marches in Dortmund

The opposition SPD has demanded answers from city police and state officials over two far-right marches that took place unhindered by authorities. Police blamed city authorities for allowing the rallies to take place.

Opposition politicians heavily criticized the conditions in Dortmund that led to neo-Nazi groups spontaneously marching uninhibited through the streets of the city.

The Social Democrats (SPD) on Sunday slammed both the Dortmund police and the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is controlled by Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).

"What has the state government done to distance itself from the ugly scenes of that evening, to stop them, and to protect our constitution?" the SPD wrote in its letter to state Interior Minister Herbert Reul, according to the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung daily.

The lawmakers were especially flabbergasted because the far-right scene in Dortmund is so well known to police and has been surveilled by authorities for years.

'National Socialism now!'

However, on Friday, two different neo-Nazi rallies took place. Footage showed about 100 extremists who paraded through the streets holding flags of the pre-World War I German empire. They used pyrotechnics and shouted slogans like "Whoever loves Germany is an anti-Semite," and "National Socialism now!"

Locals expressed their dismay on social media, as well as their disappointment at the initial statement from city police, which simply read: "We have documented the behavior of the right-wing extremists. The criminal relevance of this is being reviewed."

The Dortmund police have, however, redirected criticism onto officials of the city government, who allowed the marches to take place and did not agree to station extra officers around the rally. One group's motto read: "Against police harassment and police abuse."

Interior Minister Reul has yet to make a public statement on the matter, as Dortmund inhabitants became increasingly concerned that fringe groups could turn their city into the site of larger scale unrest, such as that which took place in Chemnitz at the beginning of September.

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