Germany: Neo-Nazis and populists march in Berlin waving fake Third Reich flags and those of Russia
Almost 3 000 right-wing extremists and populists marched through the center of Berlin today to express their disagreement with the German Government's migration policy and more than 1 000 people turned out to counter-protest them. Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) reports that smaller clashes occurred with police when approximately 200 people attempted to blockade the extremists' march.
The media has not reported on any arrests or injuries as a result of today's events. Authorities anticipated that the announced right-wing march would be attended by just a few hundred people.
Those participating included neo-Nazis, hooligans, adherents of the extreme-right movement called "Citizens of the Reich", sympathizers of the anti-immigrant movement Pegida and "rockers", according to DPA. Some waved German flags, but others were carrying fake flags of the Third Reich, the flags of Brandenburg and Saxony, and even the Russian state flag.
The crowd chanted "Merkel Must Go", "We Are the Nation", and "The Media Lies" to show their hostility to asylum-seekers. The march by extremists set out from the main train station and proceeded along the banks of the Spree and around the building of the Bundestag up to the Brandenburg Gate.
The route was lined with police barricades. The attempt by about 200 people to blockade the march was disrupted by police using tear gas.
Aggressive groups from either side faced off on either side of many of the barriers. DPA reports that the neo-Nazis in particular threatened to use force and intensively provoked those protesting them.
Numerous police forces kept the two camps at a safe distance from each other. According to official information, around 1 300 police officers were deployed during the march, but some were ensuring order at a demonstration by Kurds that was happening at the same time.
DPA reports that various political parties, unions, churches, left-wing group and the Union of Turks in Germany called on the public to participate in the counter-demonstration. The banners held above the crowd by the counter-protesters proclaimed "Asylum is a fundamental right, racism is not".
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