On March 18th a little more than one year after heavy riots erupted in Leipzig-Connewitz, Neo-nazis once again gathered to hold a demonstration close to the alternative district of the Saxon city. Even less participated in the far-right rally. Thousands followed calls by different political groups and joined counter-protest. Protest mostly stayed peaceful. Eighteen counter-protestors were arrested. Amongst Neo-nazis were followers wearing signs of Greek far-right organization Golden Dawn, others clothed in uniform ‘Aryans – Protect your race’ shirts and a participant wore a backpack with ‘Combat18’ – the forbidden terror organization – written on it.
Color- and Mostly Peaceful Protest
Already at 10AM the first counter-demonstration was held. Antifascists marched from Leipzig city center towards the alternative district Südvorstadt and Connewitz located South. A flare was lit half-way. Demonstrators then tried to get close to the route of the fascist gathering and block it. The high number of police forces, water-cannons and fences set-up prevented this. Alongside of the Neo-nazi demonstration approximately one thousand displayed their opinion on fascism and racism. Some pieces of wood and plastic bottles were thrown into the group of fascists marching by. At Bayerischer Platz young and old got together to join in protest. Still eighteen people were arrested on a vast variety of charges.
Gallery of Counter-Protest
Low Neo-nazi Numbers – But Openly Shown support for ‘Combat 18’
Announcing protest with more then 400 people, March 18th must have been depressing for Neo-nazi leader and organizer Christian Worch. Only very few members of his party and some ‘Autonome Nationalisten’ made their way to Leipzig. The official slogan of the demonstration was ‘Heimat – Familie Zukunft’ – translated: ‘Home-Family-Future’. The situation in Connewitz has been tense during the past year. So the true reason and idea of this rally were probably differing a lot from the officially announced motto. After the heavy riots on December 12th, 2015 a group of 200 right-wing hooligans destroyed a whole street of Leipzig-Connewitz in the middle of the night. Retaliation by Antifa groups were: Destroyed apartments of some nazi-hooligans and a list with more than 200 names and addresses of people supposedly involved in the attack. Those events show that the alternative district is in focus of the militant far-right scene in Germany. Speakers from the states of Niedersachsen, Nordrhein-Westfalen and Bayern were invited. The demonstration quite well showed the close connection of party ‘Die Rechte’ to international fascist organizations and it’s followers love for terrorism. A group of approximately eight joining the demonstration was wearing shirts that called to ‘Save your race’ with ‘Aryans’ imprinted on the front. At least one participant was wearing a beanie of Greek fascist organization with international connections Golden Dawn. Another participant had a beanie with two machine guns and ‘Misanthropic Division’ written between those. Very openly one participant was also able to wear a backpack with ‘Combat18’ written on. The international terror-organization is forbidden in Germany. His ID was checked and he could then leave after the rally. At the very end one Neo-nazi attacked a 24mmjournalism photographer on site – as tweeted:
— 24mmjournalism (@24mmjournalism) 18. März 2017
Gallery of Neo-Nazis marching:
All in all police and city-council expected vandalism and rioting to erupt. The protest stayed mostly peaceful. The Neo-nazis were not able to reach citizens of the city. March 18th seem to have been a successful day for the city of Leipzig.