High court approves neo-Nazi demonstration ban
10 June 2005, KARLSRUHE - Germany's high court on Friday set down legal principles aimed at blocking neo-Nazis from holding rallies at sites linked to the Holocaust, including former Nazi concentration camps.
10 June 2005
KARLSRUHE - Germany's high court on Friday set down legal principles aimed at blocking neo-Nazis from holding rallies at sites linked to the Holocaust, including former Nazi concentration camps.
A month after barring the extremist National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) from staging a rally at Berlin's Holocaust memorial on 8 May - exactly 60 years after World War II ended in Europe - the Federal Constitutional Court published details backing up its ruling.
Berlin's city government called a counter-demonstration dubbed a 'Day of Democracy' at the Brandenburg Gate near the Holocaust memorial on 8 May and won court approval to ban the NPD from the entire area.
The Constitutional Court said that while the authorities could not discriminate against legal groups such as the anti-foreigner NPD, it underlined that they could give priority to other demonstrations even if they made their request after approval had been granted to another group.
It was proper to give priority to groups whose "purpose in demonstrating" attaches special meaning to a site or date, said the court.
The ruling was a fresh bid by judges to draw a line between freedom of speech and stopping NPD disruption of commemorative days.
Judges said that officials could not discriminate on grounds of the demonstrators' politics, but could keep the NPD away from the Brandenburg Gate because of its special significance to Second World War memorial ceremonies.
A march past the Holocaust monument was not allowed because the NPD placards insulted the dignity of European Jews, the judges said.
The NPD rally marking the end of World War II was held under the slogan: '60 Years of Liberation Lies - End the Cult of Guilt.'
About 3,300 neo-Nazis gathered in Berlin on 8 May but were prevented by police from even taking part in a limited march after about 6,500 left-wing activists blocked a main Berlin street.
Subject: German news