Germany’s Dresden calls for help with its Nazis
City councillors passed a resolution entitled “Nazi crisis?” warning that extremist views and violence were increasing.
The motion demands increased funding for education and civic engagement, while it also called upon the city council not to approve any marches containing far-right activities.
Dresden is home to the anti-migrant Pegida and has a strong support base for the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), which received more than 17 per cent of the vote in the municipal election this year.
Calling for federal support to tackle the crisis, the motion was supported by members of Die Linke, Greens, Social Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats.
The AfD and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) representatives voted against the motion.
The CDU criticised the motion, saying it was an exercise in “pure symbolic politics”, representing a “linguistic error”.
Jan Donhauser, chairman of the CDU city council group, said the “vast majority” of Dresden’s residents were “neither right-wing extremists nor anti-democratic”.
Max Aschenbach, a councillor from the satirical, leftist Die Partei who tabled the motion, said: “We have a Nazi problem in Dresden and have to do something about it.
“There’s been five years of [right-wing protests], terrorist attacks and terrorist groups – and everyday news reports of swastikas and Hitler salutes.
“Politicians must finally be able to stand up and say, ‘no, this is unacceptable’,” Aschenbach said.
The councillors said: “Anti-democratic, anti-pluralist, misanthropic and right-wing extremist attitudes and actions, including violence in Dresden, are occurring with increasing frequency.”
The city in Saxony has seen some of the biggest gatherings of neo-Nazis since 1945.
Annual right-wing protests began in the late 1990s, reaching a peak in 2009 with approximately 6,500 attending.
Pegida, which stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West, demands restrictions on Islamic migration. Since being founded in Dresden in 2014, the movement has spread across the globe in recent years.
Neighbouring Chemnitz saw anti-migrant violence last year after a fight broke out in which a Cuban-German man died. Two Kurdish migrants, one Iraqi and one Syrian man were named as suspects.
Subsequent large extreme-right protests demanded stricter migration policies.
Dresden at Christmas. Picture credit: Wikimedia