Germany: Alcohol banned at neo-Nazi festival, some locals also bought up all the beer to keep it out of neo-Nazi hands
German television station ZDF reports that a court ruled that last weekend's neo-Nazi music festival in the east Saxon town of Ostritz had to be held without alcohol, which police monitored at the scene. Local residents decided to make the prohibition even more unpleasant for those attending the event by buying up all the beer in the local supermarket.
The Schild und Schwert ("Shield and Sword") festival, for which the abbreviation "SS" is used - a reference to the Nazi Protection Squadron - was attended by between 500 and 600 people, according to police, all of whom traveled to the Upper Wendish town of Ostritz just a few kilometers from the Czech Republic on the German-Polish border. A total of 1 400 police officers supervised the peace in the small town.
The Saxon state police accepted aid from their colleagues in Berlin, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Poland. Authorities explained the significant outnumbering of the neo-Nazis by police as due to the fact that they had counted on up to 2 000 visitors attending.
The German daily Der Tagesspiegel reported that those attending were well-prepared for the police checkpoints and had been advised by organizers not to bring baseball bats or knives with long blades and to cover any tattoos of Nazi swastikas with bandages. It was an obvious blow to the concert-goers that there was no alcohol for sale on the grounds of the facility where the event took place.
Police decided to prohibit the sale of alcohol for safety reasons and the court agreed on Friday, when the event began. ZDF reported that police then confiscated 4 200 liters of beer at the scene, the equivalent of 84 50-liter barrels, as well as 200 liters of other alcoholic beverages during their security checks of those arriving.
Local residents who were dissatisfied with the fact that neo-Nazi concerts are being held in their town contributed to the prohibition measures by buying out more than 100 cases of beer at the local supermarket. That civil society action was organized under the auspices of the International Meeting Center (IBZ), which is based in a former Cistercian abbey near Ostritz, St. Marienthal.
The beer buyout sparked a lot of reaction on the Internet and in the media. Local residents were thanked on Twitter by the Prime Minister of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer , among others.
"If the extreme-right radicals attempt to shape an image of us with their slogans that are contemptuous of humanity, we must all stand up to them. I thank the men and women of Ostritz for their extensive involvement," Kretschmer tweeted.
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