Neo-Nazis commemorate Dresden in Czech Republic and Germany this year
After marching through Dresden yesterday, German neo-Nazis have canceled a second march planned for today which was supposed to commemorate the destruction of the city at the end of the Second World War on the actual anniversary of the bombing. A police spokesperson confirmed the news reported by a local daily, Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten (DNN).
Neo-Nazis have regularly gone to the Saxon metropolis for the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden, but in recent years their demonstrations have been blocked by left-wing activists and residents who reject the ultra-right. This year the neo-Nazis held another march yesterday, the day before the actual anniversary.
"[Today's] assembly has been canceled," a police spokesperson told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) this morning. According to DNN, the organizer of the march notified the local authorities of the cancellation of today's planned event yesterday evening.
The neo-Nazis made an unsuccessful court bid this year to hold their parade in front of one of Dresden's key monuments, the world-famous Frauenkirche. The online edition of the daily Frankfurter Rundschau has called the cancellation of today's neo-Nazi march, which has happened annually since 1990 on the anniversary of the city's destruction, a "capitulation" by the radical right to the will of the citizens.
In recent years citizen protests have successfully prevented the neo-Nazis from undertaking the anniversary march. In 2011, for example, the annual event even featured clashes between left-wing and right-wing extremists.
Residents have formed human chains in the center of Dresden to signal their disagreement with the neo-Nazis' intentions. A similar chain was scheduled to be created today at 17:00 CET.
DPA reports that the neo-Nazis marched through the center of Dresden last night instead. Approximately 500 right-wing extremists carrying flaming torches passed through the historical heart of the city, undeterred by the presence of roughly 1 000 of their opponents.
Police say yesterday's parade had been properly announced to the authorities and there are no reports of any arrests, of clashes between the two camps, or of injuries. DPA reports that the ultra-right was in fact able to march unimpeded through the Old Town of Dresden yesterday for the first time in many years.
The bombing of Dresden on 13 and 14 February 1945 by Allied air forces, during which an estimated 25 000 people perished, has been called a "bombing Holocaust of the German nation" by German neo-Nazis. Due to present-day resistance by local residents, however, fewer and fewer participants have attended the neo-Nazi anniversary march in recent years.
This year the neo-Nazis also intend to commemorate the destruction of the Saxon metropolis abroad. They have convened a march entitled "Light for Dresden" this coming Saturday in the Czech town of Karlovy Vary which is expected to be attended by ultra-right adherents from the Czech Republic and Germany.
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