Germany plans new moves to fight neo-Nazis

19th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

19 April 2006, BERLIN - Reacting to the savage beating of a black man in eastern Germany by suspected rightists, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday new programmes were being planned to curb the influence of neo-Nazis.

19 April 2006

BERLIN - Reacting to the savage beating of a black man in eastern Germany by suspected rightists, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday new programmes were being planned to curb the influence of neo-Nazis.

"We recognize we have a special challenge posed by right-wing extremism and that we have to give an appropriate answer," said deputy spokesman Thomas Steg in a news conference.

Steg said that "especially in the younger generation there is certainly a bigger than average danger posed by right-wing extremists."

He said new measures aimed at neo-Nazis would be examined in talks for next year's federal budget but declined to give any details.

The remarks came after a 37-year-old Ethiopian-born German citizen was savagely beaten by a gang at a tram stop in the eastern city of Potsdam at the weekend.

Police believe neo-Nazis carried out the attack which left the victim - an irrigation engineer completing a Ph.D. and father of two children - with life-threatening head injuries.

Chancellor Merkel was "appalled over this attack," said Steg.

Police are following leads from the victim's mobile phone which was connected to his wife's voice-mail box at the time. The attackers were recorded as they called him a "dirty nigger" before beating him.

Merkel strongly welcomed the decision by federal prosecutors to take over the case, said Steg.

Economically hard-hit eastern Germany has had the highest per capita rate of neo-Nazi attacks for the past decade.

Potsdam is located in eastern Brandenburg state which in 2004 - the latest year for which data is available - had the largest number of violent neo-Nazi attacks for all of Germany's 16 federal states.

The lowest rates were in western Bremen and Bavaria.

Germany's domestic security agency, the Verfassungsschutz, estimates there are currently 41,000 rightists in the country of whom 10,000 are deemed to be violent neo-Nazis or skinheads. This is out of a total population of 82 million.

DPA

Subject: German news

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