Germany Bans Neo-Nazi Group as Far-Right Gains From Migration Crisis

The New York Times/March 16, 2016

By Alison Smale

Berlin — German authorities banned a neo-Nazi group known as the White Wolves Terrorcrew after the police conducted early morning raidson Wednesday in 10 of the country’s 16 states, confiscating weapons but making no arrests, the Interior Ministry said.

Far-right parties have gained strength as Germany struggles to integrate more than one million migrants, and the ban is intended to demonstrate that the authorities will not tolerate agitation against foreigners and migrants, “and certainly no violence,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said.

“This group is an association of neo-Nazis who openly and aggressively agitate against our state, against our society, against people who think differently, against migrants and against the police,” he said.

Mr. de Maizière said that the group wanted to build a dictatorship, and that its aim “is supposed to be realized with all means available,” including violence. He added that the core of the group was made up of approximately 25 people, with the leaders coming from Hamburg.

The ministry said in a statement that no arrests were made on Wednesday, but that the authorities would continue to investigate at least 16 people connected to early morning raids. The seized items includeda small-bore rifle, a crossbow, storage media, mobile phones, throwing stars, tasers and Nazi memorabilia.

The federal authorities rarely take such severe action, with a ban in January against a neo-Nazi web portal the first of its kind since nationwide restrictions were imposed on right-wing extremist groups in 2009 and 2011, according to the German news agency DPA.

State authorities have banned nine different right-wing groups in seven different states since 2012, the news agency reported.

Federal or state bans are issued on the basis of violations of laws governing associations in Germany. More than 100 groups have been banned since the laws allowing such restrictions took effect in 1964, with most of the bans targeting right-wing and foreign extremists.

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