Over 13,000 anti-Nazi protesters have formed a human chain in the center of Dresden, Germany to block the neo-Nazi march, which assembles annually to mark the anniversary of the allied bombing of the city in 1945, and spread extremist ideology.
Around three thousand officers are policing the parallel processions. No clashes were reported between the two groups.
Wednesday’s demonstration for the ultra-right marks the 68th anniversary of the bombing against the civilian population. The neo-Nazis condemn the allied actions in the final months of World War II and claim the bombings to be war crimes.
Activists that oppose them, say that the neo-nazi march insults the memory of some 25,000 victims that died from the bombs. A number of high-profile politicians including parliamentary deputy president Wolfgang Thierse and Saxony’s state premier Stalislaw Tillich took part in the human chain.
Speaking at the city’s Heide cemetery in front of some 200 guests, Dresden Mayor Helma Orosz spoke out against the neo-Nazi message.
“It is unbearable that all manner of right-wing extremists are attempting to take advantage of the [day of commemoration] crusade of hate and revenge,” Deutsche Welle quoted.
“It is an extremely worrying phenomenon,” warns Georgina Siklossy European Network Against Racism, especially when extreme nationalist ideologies are getting a hold in the rest of Europe as “there is an increased popularity in these far-right movements.”
Siklossy also told RT that austerity measures implemented by EU member states are a contributing factor to the rise of extreme thinking as “the economic crisis is exacerbating tensions and fear due to the loss of jobs.”
Governments of Europe have to continue to implement the social inclusion policies, Siklossy argues, to combat the political extremism.
Three month before the end of the WWII, British and US planes bombed the city for over 37 hours, ending midday February 15, 1945.
Thousands of people create a human chain along the Elbe river in front of the Dresden historical city center on February 13, 2013.(AFP Photo / Robert Michael)
People hold their hands as thousands create a human chain along the Elbe river in front of the Dresden historical city center on February 13, 2013.(AFP Photo / Robert Michael)
People create a human chain along the Elbe river in front of the Dresden historical city center on February 13, 2013.(AFP Photo / Robert Michael)
Neo-Nazis take part in a rally to commemorate the 68nd anniversary of the bombing of Dresden on February 13, 2013 in Dresden.(AFP Photo / Robert Michael)
Extreme right-wing protesters shout slogans at left-wing demonstrators in Dresden as the victims of the 1945 allied bombing of Dresden are remembered on its anniversary, February 13, 2013.(Reuters / Thomas Peter)