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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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Berlin showdown: Neo-Nazi marchers meet anti-Nazi protesters

Neo-Nazis took to the streets

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BERLIN, Germany - On Saturday, thousands of neo-Nazis took to the streets of the outskirts of the German capital to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of Rudolf Hess, a deputy to Adolf Hitler.

Hundreds of far-right extremists gathered even as hundreds of anti-Nazi demonstrators participated in a planned rally in Berlin.

Incidentally, the rally in Berlin was planned before the violent white supremacists' protests in Charlottesville, Virginia drew global condemnation and dominated the discussion of the Nazi past. 

The crowd of neo-Nazis refrained from speaking to the media - one of the directives that they were reportedly issued by the organizers of the march - some came forward and declared that they cheered the events in the United States with delight.

Demonstrators were also forbidden from chanting Nazi slogans, displaying swastikas and wearing certain military uniforms, or even carrying weapons, in keeping with the strict laws put into place after World War II.

Organizers also banned the use of torches and only one flag was allowed for every 50 people.

The Hess apologists were restricted from talking about the Nazi politician, who was convicted of crimes against peace after the war. 

Demonstrators were banned from quoting him or playing his speeches.

The march by the demonstrators headed to the former site of Spandau Prison, where Hess committed suicide in 1987.

In a bid to prevent the prison from becoming a pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis, it was subsequently demolished and the pieces were scattered in the North Sea.

However, till date, participants advance the conspiracy theory that Hess was killed covertly by the British.

The neo-Nazis, however, couldn’t reach the location of the former prison and were flanked by the police as they proceeded peacefully, carrying black-white-red flags of the German Empire, with the police in tow.

On the other end, counter-protesters said they felt a new urgency to denounce Germany's dark history after watching it reemerge like a phantom in Virginia.

As the crowd of neo-Nazis moved to block the road, counter-protesters shouted slogans, saying, “Nazis out.” 

This led to a stalemate that lasted for over two hours, in which opposing sides were separated by a no man's land spanning 30 yards, guarded by the police.

Authorities then led the neo-Nazis away from their desired destination, down a side street, around to the transit station - at the start of the march.

Authorities deployed some 1,000 police officers to prevent clashes in Spandau.

Some of the protesters gathered at the site chanted anti-Donald Trump slogans too.

 

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