Berlin: Neo-Nazis set to hold congress

Appeals court ruled a neighborhood's concerns were not enough to block it.

neo nazis 298 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
neo nazis 298 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
A German far-right party was to open its national party congress Saturday in the capital after an appeals court ruled a neighborhood's concerns were not enough to block it. Some 700 members of the National Democratic Party, known by its German initials NPD, were expected at the meeting in the northwestern Berlin district of Reinickendorf. Whenever neo-Nazis hold public events in Germany their numbers are invariably dwarfed by counter-protesters, and some 2,000 demonstrators against the party congress were expected, police spokesman Christian Matzdorf said. Ahead of the meeting, however, the area was quiet, he added. The two-day congress was given the go-ahead on Friday night by a Berlin-Brandenburg administrative court, which ruled that Reinickendorf's concerns that the meeting would lead to a complete shutdown of the area's center were unfounded. "The administration of Reinickendorf's fear of the full blockade of the center ... was not convincing to the court," the court said in its ruling. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's government tried to ban the NPD, but the move was blocked by the Supreme Court when it was discovered that the government's case was based in part on inflammatory statements made by paid government informants. Though it is a fringe party at the federal level, never garnering more than a handful of votes, the NPD has made inroads at the state level and now holds seats in two state parliaments. The party holds a national congress at least every two years.