Germany Looks into Banning a Number of Neo-nazi Groups

Germany’s interior minister has ordered the federal office that monitors extremist political activities to examine the possibility of banning a number of neo-Nazi organizations.

The spokesman for Interior Minister Rudolf Seiters said here Monday that the examination would particularly look into groups that have been heavily involved in the recent wave of violence against foreigners.

Eckart Werthebach, the president of the monitoring office, called the Verfassungsschutz, has, meanwhile, publicly called for a ban on a number of such organizations.

This attitude, which represents a shift in the office’s policy, was expressed in several interviews and appears geared to head off criticism by the Jewish community and other groups.

While refraining from naming the organizations to be banned, Werthebach said recent intelligence information suggests that more and more coordination took place among extremist neo-Nazi groups and the Republican Party.

The Republican Party, led by a former SS officer, is an established political party with representation in the European Parliament and in several German state parliaments.

Werthebach also said no decision has been made on whether the Republicans should be monitored by his office.

Such monitoring arouses concern among right-wing politicians, who fear that people who vote for the Republicans would be persuaded to switch their allegiance to more middle-of-the-road parties.

According to recent statistics, the number of clashes between far-right and far-left extremist groups in Germany has increased dramatically in the past year. More than 230 such violent clashes have been registered so far this year, Werthebach reported.

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