Neo-Nazi rally passes off peacefully in Berlin

23rd October 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 October 2006, Berlin (dpa) - Around 1,000 neo-Nazis demonstrated in Berlin over the weekend for the release of a right-wing musician jailed for spreading racial hatred. Police said there were no major incidents, but several participants were taken into temporary custody for carrying dangerous objects or displaying banned insignia. Hundreds of police watched over the rally near Tegel prison where Michael Regener, former singer of the banned rock group Landser, is serving a 40-month sentence. Regener, al

23 October 2006

Berlin (dpa) - Around 1,000 neo-Nazis demonstrated in Berlin over the weekend for the release of a right-wing musician jailed for spreading racial hatred.

Police said there were no major incidents, but several participants were taken into temporary custody for carrying dangerous objects or displaying banned insignia.

Hundreds of police watched over the rally near Tegel prison where Michael Regener, former singer of the banned rock group Landser, is serving a 40-month sentence.

 Regener, also known as Lunikoff, lost an appeal in 2005 against his December 2003 conviction for membership in a criminal organization and spreading hatred against Jews and foreigners.

The rock group Landser, German for "foot soldiers," was declared a criminal organization for propagating racial hatred in its music.

Three-left wing organizations staged counter-protests at the demonstration but police kept them well apart from the rightist rally organized by the extremist German National Party (NPD), of which Regener is a member.

The NPD last month won enough seats in elections to gain admission to parliament in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, after Saxony, the second eastern German state where it is represented.

Israel's ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein, said in an interview Saturday that gains made by rightist parties in regional polls recently showed they could no longer be considered marginal.

Stein told the newspaper Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung there was a greater willingness on behalf of neo-Nazis to use violence.

"I have the feeling that Jews in Germany do not feel safe and they are not always able to practice their religion freely," he said, adding that security had been tightened at synagogues and Jewish community centres.

Earlier this week, officials confirmed there had been a sharp increase in neo-Nazi crime in Germany, which has a population of 82 million.

Almost 8,000 crimes by the far-right were reported during the first eight months of this year, compared with 6,605 for the same period in 2005, Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper said Tuesday, quoting German Interior Ministry figures.

Between January and August this year, a total of 452 violent neo-Nazi attacks were reported in Germany, with 325 people injured. During the same period in 2005 there were 363 attacks and 302 injuries, the newspaper said.

A statement by the Interior Ministry confirmed the figures, but cautioned that the data was still "preliminary" and might later be adjusted.

Germany's domestic intelligence service, the Verfassungsschutz, says about 40,000 people belong to far-right groups in the country, of whom over 10,000 are deemed to be violent skinheads.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article