German city Dresden declares ‘Nazi emergency’

Supporters of the Pegida movement and German right-wing populist party Alternative for Germany hold banners against German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a demonstration in front of the Frauenkirche church at Neumarkt square in Dresden, Germany, on September 17, 2017. Photo by Filip Singer/EPA-EFE

Nov. 3 (UPI) — Dresden this week declared a “Nazi emergency” because of growing right-wing activities in the the east German city.

The city’s councilors, by a 39-29 vote, passed a resolution, which is symbolic and has no legal consequences.

The Nazi Party was a far-right political party in Germany led by Adolf Hitler from 1920 to 1945.

Max Aschenbach, councilor for the left-leaning satirical party, called Die Partei in German and The Party in English, told CNN his resolution was designed to show commitment to a “democratic, open, pluralistic society,”

“The word ‘Nazinotstand’ is an exaggerated formulation for the fact that there is a serious problem — similar to the climate emergency — with right-wing extremism right up to the middle of society,” he said.

Right-wing activities have been connected to Dresden, which has a population of half a million people, and in its Saxony state for decades.

At rallies in the early 1990s, neo-Nazi groups began commemorating what they called “the bombing Holocaust,” when the city was bombed by British and American forces in 1945.

The movement Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West first emerged in 2013.

In this year’s state election, the Alternative for Deutschland, or AfD, won 27.5 percent of the vote.

In 2017, the AfD became the first far-right party to enter Germany’s national parliament when it finished in third place overall in federal elections.

“For years, politicians have failed to position themselves clearly and unequivocally against the right-wing extremists, and to outlaw them,” Aschenbach told CNN.

He added he wanted Dresden’s city council to support citizens’ initiatives, education and culture.

Germany’s governing Christian Democrats opposed the resolution.

“From our point of view, this was primarily an intended provocation,” Jan Donhauser, chairman of the CDU City Council Group, told the BBC.

” ‘State of emergency’ means the collapse or a serious threat to public order. That is not given rudimentarily. Furthermore, the focus on ‘right-wing extremism’ does not do justice to what we need. We are the guardians of the liberal-democratic basic order and no violence, no matter from which extremist side it comes, is compatible with it.”

Donhauser said the “vast majority” of Dresden residents are “neither right-wing extremists nor anti-democratic.”


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