East German City Dresden Declares ‘Nazi Emergency’ | News on Islamophobia
Dresden is the birthplace of the anti-Islam movement Pegida which holds weekly rallies there.
The eastern German city of Dresden has declared a ‘Nazi emergency’ as officials warned of a rise in far-right support and violence.
The city is home to the Islamophobic movement Pegida, which holds weekly rallies there, while the anti-immigration Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party won 28% of the vote in September’s regional elections.
The city council of Dresden supported a resolution against far-right ideas entitled “Nazinotstand? or “Nazi emergency? “.
It was worn by Max Aschenbach, a local councilor for the satirical left-wing party Die Partei, who told the DPA news agency that “this town has a Nazi problem”.
The resolution said the city was “concerned that anti-democratic, anti-pluralistic, discriminatory and far-right positions that include violence” were on the rise in Dresden.
He called for the “strengthening of a democratic culture”, giving priority to “the protection of minorities, human rights and victims of far-right violence”.
The motion also stressed the importance of fighting “anti-Semitism, racism and Islamophobia”.
The resolution was approved by council members’ votes 39 to 29.
It was backed by the left and liberal parties, but rejected not only by AfD members but also by centre-right Christian Democrats who said it shouldn’t have aimed only at extremism of right.
“The title is clearly pointed,” said Thomas Loeser, a Green Party council member.
“But we, as a city community, clearly state our support for those who oppose racism and anti-Semitism, and expect everyone else to do the same,” he said. .
The AfD is particularly strong in eastern Germany which, nearly 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, lags the west in terms of jobs and prosperity and has been a hotbed of xenophobia, racist hate crimes and support for far-right groups.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to let in about a million refugees and migrants, many of whom were fleeing wars Middle Eaststoked support for far-right groups such as Pegida and the AfD.
Last month, the AfD climbed to second place in local elections in East Germany State of Thuringia, taking 24% of the vote, with Merkel’s centre-right The Christian Democratic Union party comes one percentage point behind.