Neo-Nazi clashes feared at Iran-Angola game
19 June 2006, LEIPZIG, GERMANY - German police are to be reinforced Wednesday when Iran plays Angola at the World Cup, amid fears that neo-Nazis may try to grab world attention by demonstrating in Leipzig.
19 June 2006
LEIPZIG, GERMANY - German police are to be reinforced Wednesday when Iran plays Angola at the World Cup, amid fears that neo-Nazis may try to grab world attention by demonstrating in Leipzig.
The chief of police in the state of Saxony, Klaus Fleischmann, says he will field as many as 2,000 police in the city. Demonstrators require permission to hold a parade, and the neo-Nazis have not sought a permit. But police do not rule out a wildcat demonstration.
Police said their biggest headache is likely to be an anti-Nazi demonstration in the downtown area called by Jewish and leftist groups that have vowed to outnumber the neo-Nazis whenever they appear.
With 10,000 Iranian fans, up to 6,000 supporters of Angola and tens of thousands of Germans heading to the stadium and public viewing areas in Leipzig, inner-city demonstrations at the same time are a major strain on manpower, police say.
The Angola-Iran game took on a political colouring months ago, when rightists, who deny that the Holocaust ever happened, said the game against a black team was the ideal occasion to show support for Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who also doubts the Holocaust.
Ahmadinejad will not be in Germany, but his suggestions that he might come have kept Germany on tenterhooks for weeks.
Albrecht Buttolo, interior minister of the state of Saxony, describes the security challenge on the day as "very difficult."
The Saxon police have observed rallies at the previous two Iran games. About 1,000 people waved Israeli flags in Nuremberg and 500 demonstrated in Frankfurt on Saturday. There was no violence.
The only rightists in evidence in either city were 16 who wore neo-Nazi T-shirts in Nuremberg and were quickly moved on.
The tension in Leipzig is likely to be greater because the city is located in eastern Germany, where neo-Nazis are thicker on the ground and where several attacks on black people have led to concern that white supremacists may create no-go areas for people of colour.
Saxony is the state where the far-right Nationalist Democratic Party has been most successful, winning 9.2 per cent of the vote in state elections in 2004.
Subject: German news