Thousands of Germans protest against spread of neo-Nazism
Politicians are vowing to step up efforts to counter the spread of far-right ideology, especially in the former communist east.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFFPublished: NOVEMBER 19, 2006 08:55Advertisement
Thousands of people gathered near Germany's biggest World War II soldiers' cemetery on Saturday to protest against far-right extremism.
Demonstrators formed a human chain near the cemetery in Halbe, south of Berlin, and heard speeches from politicians and musicians.
"No more fascism and no more war - all democrats in Germany must stand up for that," said Matthias Platzeck, governor of the state of Brandenburg.
The protest, backed by an alliance of mainstream political parties, went ahead even though police banned an annual demonstration there by neo-Nazi groups.
Some 700 far-right supporters instead gathered on Saturday at another war-era cemetery in Seelow, about 100 km. further east.
Politicians are vowing to step up efforts to counter the spread of far-right ideology, especially in the former communist east, after a spate of incidents involving suspected neo-Nazis.
Halbe is in the same eastern state where suspected neo-Nazis on November 10 attacked a memorial to a synagogue burned down on Kristallnacht in 1938.
Far-right activists have gathered for years in Halbe to glorify fallen Wehrmacht soldiers on the eve of Germany's annual Day of Mourning for the victims of war.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is to take part in ceremonies in Berlin on Sunday marking the day of remembrance.
The remains of about 28,000 German soldiers lie buried in Halbe and another 600 in Seelow. Most of them died in one of Nazi Germany's last stands as Soviet forces advanced toward Berlin in April 1945.
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