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500 neo-Nazis, counter-protesters march in Berlin

Berlin police imposed a number of restrictions on the march in an effort to ensure that it concludes without incident.

Staff Reporter
19 August 2017, 3:24pm
Neo Nazi Rally in Berlin (source: @Wirereporter on Twitter)
Neo Nazi Rally in Berlin (source: @Wirereporter on Twitter)
Heavily-armed police separated 500 neo-Nazis from counter protesters in Berlin on Saturday as they held a march to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of leading Nazi Rudolf Hess.

About 500 counter-demonstrators gathered nearby the parade in the Spandau district, separated from the neo-Nazis by hundreds of heavily armored police.

Berlin police imposed a number of restrictions on the march in an effort to ensure that it concludes without incident.

Organizers are allowed to march, but not to glorify Hess, who died at Spandau prison, where he had been imprisoned for life for  crimes against peace and his part in planning World War II. The neo-Nazis are allowed to bring banners but these were limited to one for every 50 participants.

Such restrictions are commonplace  in Germany date back to the pre-war Weimar Republic, which implemented the measures to tackle bloody clashes on the streets between opposing political groups that would try to interrupt their rivals' rallies through violence.

Shields, helmets and batons, similar to those carried by far-right and Neo-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville last weekend are banned from these events in Germany.

Law enforcement would intervene to arrest individuals who participated in openly anti-Semitic chants, but would generally not stop an entire rally, police are reported as saying.

Left-wing groups expect about 1,000 people to attend the counter-protests.
Hess died in prison on Aug. 17, 1987 and his death was ruled a suicide, but Nazi sympathizers maintain that he was killed, organizing annual marches in his honor.