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Merkel calls for fight against German far-right party

Merkel calls for fight against German far-right party

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday urged "all courageous democrats" to combat a German far-right group, which staged a protest against a meeting of her party.
Merkel spoke on the annual international day of commemoration for victims of the Holocaust, marking the anniversary of the Auschwitz death camp's liberation in 1945 by Soviet troops.
Police said some 200 far-right supporters marched through Frankfurt an der Oder, on the Polish border, following a call by the National Democratic Party, or NPD, to demonstrate against a conference of Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats.
Several hundred people took part in a counter-protest, and a few briefly blocked the route of the far-right march. Police said one man was detained for giving the straight-armed Hitler salute, which is prohibited under German law.
"The NPD must be fought by all courageous democrats, and I thank all those who commit themselves to this," Merkel told delegates at her party's meeting.
She did not address a debate over whether the government should launch a new drive to ban the NPD, which won seats in the state legislature of an economically depressed eastern region last September _ its second such success in two years.
The government is wary after Germany's highest court in 2003 blocked a previous attempt to ban the NPD. It refused to hear the case because the government cited statements by party members who turned out to be paid informers for state authorities.
The general secretary of Merkel's party, Ronald Pofalla, said that sapping support for far-right groups was a matter of "responsibility for the past, the present and the future."
"Far-right parties must be made to feel that their mindless, antiquated slogans meet with society's broad rejection," Pofalla said in a statement.


Updated : 2021-02-28 09:31 GMT+08:00