Riots as protestors try to stop neo-Nazi march

4th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

4 October 2006, LEIPZIG/KIEL, GERMANY - Police detained 102 people on Tuesday during violent protests against a neo-Nazi march coinciding with the 16th anniversary of German unification. A police spokesman said hundreds of left-wing radicals hurled missiles, erected barricades and set fire to a patrol car as they tried to stop a neo-Nazi rally in the eastern city of Leipzig. One policeman was injured. Some 2,000 riot police were on duty to protect the neo-Nazi 200 marchers, who paraded through the city cen

4 October 2006

LEIPZIG/KIEL, GERMANY - Police detained 102 people on Tuesday during violent protests against a neo-Nazi march coinciding with the 16th anniversary of German unification.

A police spokesman said hundreds of left-wing radicals hurled missiles, erected barricades and set fire to a patrol car as they tried to stop a neo-Nazi rally in the eastern city of Leipzig. One policeman was injured.

Some 2,000 riot police were on duty to protect the neo-Nazi 200 marchers, who paraded through the city centre led by figurehead Christian Worch.

Local politicians, trade unions and religious groups had called for a peaceful demonstration against the rally.

The nation on Tuesday marked the unification of the former West Germany and communist East Germany on October 3, 1990.

Elsewhere the anniversary was celebrated with religious services, street fairs and a pledge by Chancellor Angela Merkel to press ahead with reforms.

The northern port of Kiel was the focus of this year's celebrations, which have been held in a different city each year since East and West Germany united in 1990.

A huge fair along the Baltic Sea waterfront and a series of concerts highlighted the Kiel festivities, which attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors despite overcast and windy weather.

Chancellor Merkel attended a religious service before delivering a keynote address at the city's main convention hall in which she underlined the importance of freedom for the German nation.

Freedom "remains for me the key to ensuring that justice and solidarity have a future," the chancellor told an audience that included President Horst Koehler.

Merkel, who hails from the former communist eastern Germany, also underscored her government's plans to institute tax reforms and overhaul the creaking health care system and labour market.

A poll for the television news channel NTV conducted on the eve of Unity Day showed 74 per cent of eastern Germany's 17 million inhabitants considered themselves second-class citizens 16 years after unification.

The region still lags behind the west of Germany in terms of growth and also has a higher unemployment rate, following the collapse of its economy after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the ensuing demise of communism.

"Rebuilding the east will take another 40 years," said Ulrich Blum, president of the Institute for Economic Research in the eastern city of Halle.

The German government, which has already pumped billions into the east, needed to develop more economic hubs in the region and invest in research facilities, Blum said.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who attended another Unity Day celebration in Berlin, said the Germans of today were better off than previous generations.

"We seem to have forgotten how serious the threat was during the Cold War. It was not about terrorist attacks like it it is today; there was a doomsday scenario hanging over everything," the minister said.

DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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