Neo-Nazi violence feared at rallyfor German troops killed in 1945

12th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

12 November 2004 , BERLIN - Police are bracing for violence at a march this Saturday by right-wing extremists at a German war cemetery for soldiers killed in the last big tank battle of World War II. Up to 1,000 far-rightists are expected to take part in a memorial procession at the Halbe War Cemetery about 40 kilometres southeast of Berlin. Police say they are deploying 1,600 officers in riot gear in a bid to prevent clashes with a counter-protest expected to draw thousands of leftists to the normally sle

12 November 2004 

BERLIN - Police are bracing for violence at a march this Saturday by right-wing extremists at a German war cemetery for soldiers killed in the last big tank battle of World War II.

Up to 1,000 far-rightists are expected to take part in a memorial procession at the Halbe War Cemetery about 40 kilometres southeast of Berlin.

Police say they are deploying 1,600 officers in riot gear in a bid to prevent clashes with a counter-protest expected to draw thousands of leftists to the normally sleepy Brandenburg village of Halbe.

Dubbed "Glory and Honour for German Frontline Soldiers" the rightist rally was initially banned by police.

But the organisers managed to get the ban overturned by a regional court which said the "so-called remembrance of heroes" could not be forbidden and that police claims the march looked like a Nazi rally were insufficient for a ban.

Organisers, on their website, called on those taking part not to wear clothing normally associated with the neo-Nazi movement.

This includes a ban on jackboots and the "Lonsdale" jackets with the brand name emblazoned on the back. Lonsdale clothes, which ironically are made in Britain, have become a German neo-Nazi fashion item because the letters "nsda" are close to NSDAP which was the abbreviation of Adolf Hitler's Nazis.

"No interviews are to be given to the media - they are to be treated as if they do not exist," instructs the rightist website.

Locals in Halbe are angry the protest is being allowed to go ahead and the Berliner Kurier newspaper reported most shops in the village will be closed Saturday and shopkeepers are boarding up their windows due to fears of trouble.

Halbe was the scene of a similar far-right march last year and also in 1990 and 1991.

The last major battle of World War II in Germany was fought in the Halbe area - known for its huge pine forests and lakes - after Soviet Red Army tanks surrounded the battered 9th Army of German Wehrmacht General Theodor Busse in April 1945.

General Busse refused to surrender. It remains unclear exactly how many people were killed in the following battle: estimates range anywhere from 40,000 up to 120,000 soldiers and civilians.

Over 28,000 of the dead were buried at the Halbe cemetery beginning in 1951, thanks mainly to the efforts of a local Protestant pastor. Most of the dead have never been identified.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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