Monday, 15 April 2013

Thousands stage anti-racism demonstration in Munich

Thousands of people in Germany have staged a massive anti-racism demonstration ahead of the upcoming trial for a member of a neo-Nazi group suspected of killing nine immigrants and a police officer.

An estimated 5,000 people took to the streets near the Stachus square in Germany’s southern city of Munich and marched downtown on Saturday afternoon, voicing their outrage at right-wing extremism in the country.

The demonstrators carried banners that read, “Munich Nazi remains free” and “No to Nazi terror, state and everyday racism.”

The participants in the gathering also criticized the German government for its handling of right-wing violence in the country.

In 2011, official investigations brought to light that the right-wing extremist cell, National Socialist Underground (NSU), was behind the murder of nine Greek and Turkish immigrants as well as a police officer during a 10-year period since 2000.

Over the past two years, several top security officials have resigned following revelations that German authorities for years believed the murders to be the work of immigrant gangs, not racist terrorists.

Saturday's demonstration was organized by Germany’s anti-racism group Alliance against Nazi Terror and Racism.

“We want to turn our attention more closely to racist structures in society. And above all, we are seeking the abolition of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution,” said Bernd Kaminski, the spokesman of the group.

The anti-racism group accuses Germany's domestic intelligence authority, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, of silently allowing the NSU members to perpetrate the crimes.

A group of demonstrators from various ethnic and national backgrounds also joined the Germans during the nearly five-hour demonstration.

The sole surviving member of National Socialist Underground, Beate Zschaepe, is scheduled to face trial at the Munich regional court.



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