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Friday, August 24, 2012

German Raid Cracks Down on Neo-Nazis

BERLIN — The authorities in Germany banned three known neo-Nazi groups and raided dozens of members’ homes and meeting places in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Thursday, in an effort to break up an aggressive network of far-right extremists.

About 900 officers carried out the raids across the state, confiscating weapons, computers and other materials, including posters from the far-right National Democratic Party, officials said. No arrests were made, but the authorities said they could follow once the materials are examined. The authorities say the extremists spread anti-Semitic, fascist and racist propaganda.

“These groups are dangerous,” Burkhard Freier, who leads the state’s domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, said at a news conference in Düsseldorf. “We have noticed they are attracting ever more young people to their ideals.” The decision to ban the groups comes against the backdrop of an investigation by a parliamentary committee into a far-right underground cell that had evaded the authorities for years, killing at least 10 people, most of them immigrant businessmen. The move prohibits the neo-Nazis from gathering and gives the authorities a legal basis to arrest and press charges against them. Read More