Criticism of the course of the nazi demonstration in berlin: the police is not an escort service

Obvious Heb worship and escort service: Berlin leftists and Greens demand an evaluation of Saturday’s neo-Nazi demonstration.

Showed themselves as proven Heb fans: front banner of the neo-Nazi demonstration on Saturday Photo: dpa

Leftists and Greens criticize the course of the neo-Nazi demonstration on Saturday in Berlin and the behavior of the police. Nazi crimes were glorified in the march, Left Party member Anne Helm told the taz newspaper on Sunday. She referred, among other things, to the front banner with the inscription "I regret nothing – National Socialists Berlin." "The reference to Rudolf Heb is clear, the occasion is clear – that can’t be the case in the future."

The neo-Nazis had planned for Saturday, the day after the 31. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the death of the former Hitler deputy Rudolf Heb, two demonstrations were announced – one in Spandau, the site of the war crimes prison where Heb was held until his death, and one in Friedrichshain and Lichtenberg. Strict conditions applied to both: "Any glorification of ‘Rudolf Heb’ in word, writing or image is prohibited," the police notice stated.

According to Anne Helm’s assessment, this was not adhered to; however, the police saw it differently. "We have to talk about that," announced the deputy. In addition, one must ask oneself whether one wants to allow the tactics of the neo-Nazis also in the future to provoke with the registration of a second demonstration a clearly higher expenditure for the police.

The Green interior expert Benedikt Lux considers the deployment of around 2,300 police officers on Saturday to be justified – "that is a relatively high price for freedom of assembly, but that has to be done". But he asks why the police escorted many neo-Nazis across the city from Spandau to Friedrichshain. "They could have gone home again, after all. I’m interested in what legal basis there was for the escort."

With tubs and 2,300 officers, the police secured the right-wing march Photo: dpa

In assessing the day as a whole, Lux and Helm come to different conclusions. "I find it difficult to construct a success there," Helm said. The strategy of the neo-Nazis had been to once again walk through downtown Berlin – the counter-demonstrators were unable to prevent that, partly because the counter-protest was too uncoordinated.

Lux, on the other hand, sees the success of last year confirmed, because the neo-Nazis could not hold a demonstration in honor of Hess, as they did in Spandau in 2017. "Civil society has sent the signal that no commemoration of Nazi criminals can be held in Spandau," Lux said. Concentrating the counter-protest on the highly symbolic location – a supermarket now stands on the site of the former war crimes prison – was the right thing to do, he said.

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