December 29, 2008

Germany sees rise in far-right attacks

Three hundred people recently demonstrated against far-right violence in Passau
The German government is to devise a strategy for curbing the surge of neo-Nazism as far-right offences have increased 30 per cent in 2008

The increase was announced following the attack on the chief of police in the town of Passau in Bavaria, who was stabbed in front of his home by a suspected neo-Nazi.

According to the German Ministry of Interior, the first ten months of 2008 saw up to 12,000 incidents perpetrated by far-Right offenders, including violent attacks, which is a 30 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2007. It is believed the actual numbers are much higher, as many race hate offences are not registered as such.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, condemned the development, calling for more civil courage and saying that the far-Right offences were an attack on all Germans.

But Mrs Merkel is facing pressure from politicians across the spectrum for a ban of the National Democratic Party or NPD, the largest of the country's legally registered far-Right political groups that has often been accused of neo-Nazi links.

Previous attempts to ban the NPD were rejected as unconstitutional by the country's highest court, but an increasing number of politicians are considering another attempt in 2009 due to the drastic increase of far-Right related crimes. MPs have called for a special "democracy summit" to devise a strategy for fighting the rise of neo-Nazism.

In a separate development, an academic study found that over 20 per cent of all Germans are prejudiced against foreigners, while in the impoverished areas of former East Germany one in three citizens are xenophobic.


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