Neo-nazis Convene in Madrid, Demand ‘freedom of Expression’

Some of the most notorious neo-Nazis of Europe and North America convened here last weekend demanding the legalization of national socialist parties in the name of “freedom of expression.”

The convention was organized by the Spanish Circle of Friends of Europe, known by its acronym CEDADE. It drew no more than 30 or 40 people and media attention was scant.

But the speakers list included German-born Ernst Zundel of Toronto, who was convicted under Canada’s anti-hate laws for distributing material denying the Holocaust.

Others were Manfred Roeder, sentenced to 13 years in prison for terrorist activities in his native Germany, and Thies Christophersen, a German who distributes Nazi pamphlets in Denmark.

Spain was selected as the site of the gathering apparently because it is one of the few countries in Europe which lacks a law banning symbols, political parties and movements advocating race hatred. Nevertheless, Spain has been a constitutional democracy since the death of its fascist dictator, Francisco Franco, in 1975.

The Madrid municipality previously banned meetings organized by CEDADE. This time the neo-Nazis were ordered to adjourn early to avoid crowds of soccer fans leaving an important match across the street.

CEDADE is organizing a political party intended to be a coalition of extreme right-wing elements in Spain, to run in the next parliamentary elections scheduled for 1993.

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