German group outlawed for Nazi affinity

Associated Press/July 4, 2006

An eastern German state on Tuesday outlawed a small far-right group on the grounds that it aimed to emulate Adolf Hitler's Nazis.

More than 250 police officers raided 13 apartments and other premises in Brandenburg state used by members of the "Schutzbund Deutschland" group, officials said.

They found a printing press and confiscated leaflets, brochures and CDs with extremist propaganda, said Joerg Schoenbohm, interior minister of the state, which surrounds Berlin. They also blocked the group's Web site and confiscated several computer servers.

"The Schutzbund Deutschland showed a particular affinity with National Socialism," Schoenbohm said. "This organization wanted to create a remake of the Nazi Party."

Some of the propaganda material included direct citations from the manifesto of the Nazi Party, according to Winfriede Schreiber, a state government security expert.

The group is believed to have at least 13 members, according to prosecutors, at least nine of whom are under investigation on suspicion of racial incitement. No further information on possible charges was given.

Authorities had been watching some of the members for several weeks after they found propaganda materials from them that contained racial insults against Ghanaian-born German national soccer team player Gerald Asamoah.

The group is the fifth neo-Nazi organization to be banned in Brandenburg, which saw a rash of attacks against dark-skinned people earlier this year.

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