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German State’s Prime Minister Apologizes for Neo-nazi Rally

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A recent march by neo-Nazis in a parade honoring Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s deputy, has led to a public apology by the leader of the state in which the demonstration took place.

The parade, which took place Aug. 14 in the central German town of Fulda, occurred after police in the states of Thuringia, Bavaria and Saxony had banned similar neo-Nazi demonstrations scheduled to mark the death of Hess six years ago.

A week after the parade, Prime Minister Hans Eichel of the state of Hesse publicly apologized to the Jewish community in Germany for not preventing the neo-Nazi demonstration in Fulda.

But the Social Democratic politician rejected calls from Jewish and other officials for the resignation of his interior minister, who is widely considered responsible for the scandal.

Some 500 neo-Nazis participated in the march through the streets of Fulda. According to the chairman of the Jewish community in Germany, Ignatz Bubis, the right-wing extremists all but enjoyed police protection, while leftists demonstrating against the parade were pushed back.

Initially, the Hesse authorities said they had been taken by surprise and were not ready to deal with the demonstration.

But they later changed their position and admitted that they had been informed in advance of the demonstration.

Bundestag member Wolfgang Thierse of the Social Democrats said that police in Germany are poorly prepared to deal with neo-Nazis and are preoccupied with stopping left-wing radicals.

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