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AKIPRESS.COM - A neo-Nazi rally ended after 200 meters on Saturday after hundreds of people stopped them from marching into an ethnically-diverse Berlin neighborhood. Police arrested 16 people and 17 officers were injured, The Local reported.
Despite failing to march their proposed route through Kreuzberg, a second neo-Nazi rally is planned for May 1 in Berlin’s Neukölln area by the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD).
NPD organizers said that they wanted to protest “against multiculturalism, and for a clean, orderly and German Kreuzberg.”
More than 1,600 riot police were on hand to protect them from anti-fascist activists who had gathered along the proposed route. Police estimates put the number of counter-demonstrators at 2,700, while organizers said the number of protesters was 5,000.
Berlin police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said officers wanted to protect the rights of the marchers and prevent clashes, but would likely be unable to dislodge the counter-demonstrators.
“People are becoming victims of these anti-social, multicultural and refugee policies. [Refugee claimants] must in 99 percent of cases be sent back to their home countries,” said Sebastian Schmidtke, leader of the capital’s NPD section.
A speaker introduced as “comrade Christoph from Dortmund” was even more inflammatory. “In the year 2040, the German people will have died out,” he warned, ending his speech with the slogan ‘Germany for the Germans, foreigners out!’
Moments later, Christoph was taken to a police van and charged with incitement.
Despite all the disruptions, Schmidtke still regarded the demonstration as a success.
“The measure of success is not how far we walked, but how many people showed up. The success is in the fact that we have communicated our themes to the press,” he told The Local.
He denied that the march was meant to provoke left-wing activists who inhabit the area.
“It’s not provocative. If this is a lawless area where we can’t demonstrate then there is something wrong with the city,” he said.