BERLIN – The German government plans to ban far-right protests at Holocaust sites amid fears neo-Nazis are seeking to hijack the upcoming 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s defeat, an official said on Tuesday.
Freedom of assembly laws will be tightened to allow authorities to prevent rightists from “violating the dignity” of Third Reich victims, said Volker Beck of the Greens Party which serves in Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s centre-left coalition.
Beck said the reform would allow police to ban neo-Nazi protests close to former concentration camps and at Berlin’s Holocaust memorial which will formally be opened in May.
Parliament is due to vote on the legislation this Friday.
The move comes after the anti-foreigner and anti-Semitic National Democratic Party (NPD) announced plans to hold a march past the Holocaust memorial on 8 May – the 60th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s capitulation.
An NPD demonstration in Dresden last month on the anniversary of the city’s firebombing in 1945 drew at least 5,000 right-wing extremists and was the biggest neo-Nazi march in Germany since the 1950s.
The NPD won 9.2 percent in Saxony state elections last year and now has 12 seats in the state parliament in Dresden.