German far-right party wins 'Holocaust' poster case
A German far-right party has been authorised to put up election posters in Berlin which some see as a provocative reminder of the Holocaust after a court on Wednesday slapped down a ban on their use.
Authorities in the left-leaning Berlin district of Kreuzberg had ordered the removal of the posters, one of which has as a slogan "Gas geben" (Step on It) or literally "give gas" in what some see as a reference to Nazi gas chambers.
Another provocative poster has a dark-skinned man, a woman with a headscarf and a man with what appears to be a turban sitting on a flying carpet with the slogan: "Have a good flight home."
But the administrative court in Berlin ruled the posters did not break German laws relating to the incitement to racial hatred or the publication of anti-constitutional material.
It could not be proven that the "gas" posters deliberately meant to raise associations with Nazi atrocities, the court added.
The National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), which recently merged with the small far-right German People's Union (DVU), was set up in 1964 by former Nazis. In 2009 it had between 6,000 and 7,000 members.
It has never won seats in the country's federal parliament but has gained representation in several regional parliaments, most recently in the eastern states of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
In elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, northern Germany on Sunday, the party lost support but still looked likely to clear the five-percent hurdle for representation.
The Berlin regional election takes place on September 18 with polls showing Mayor Klaus Wowereit, a Social Democrat, likely to win re-election.
© 2011 AFP