Dresden declares 'Nazi emergency' over far-right threat

Councillors in Dresden believe more needs to be done to tackle the far-right threat
Councillors in Dresden believe more needs to be done to tackle the far-right threat Copyright Kay Körner (CC by 2.5)
By Caroline Mortimer
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The German city has seen the rise of extremism in recent years and was the birthplace of Pegida.


City councillors in Dresden have passed a motion declaring a “Nazi emergency” in the city due to the rise of the far-right.

Opposition politicians in the city voted for the resolution to declare a “Nazinotstand” and call on city authorities to do more to tackle extremism.

The city, which was devastated by Allied firebombing during the Second World War, is the birthplace of the far-right “Pegida” movement which began in 2013.

Green party councillor Thomas Löser said: “It’s an intensification, that’s for sure.

“But it has the background that we, as an urban society, clearly say that we support people who oppose, that we expect everyone to stand up against racism and anti-Semitism and to get involved with it and therefore no longer want this Pegida-agitation here in our city.”

Read more: Germany's far-right AfD comes ahead of Merkel's centre-right CDU in regional election

But the Christian Democrat Union, which controls the city council, says the motion is a step too far.

CDU councillor Hans-Joachim Brauns said: “We certainly have something very undesirable. These are demonstrations that have a right-wing extremist background.

“But the motion that the city council has now adopted does not make that any better.”

Saxony, the state that includes Dresden, is regarded as a right-wing stronghold where the Alternative for Germany (Afd) party came second in regional elections in September.

Read more: Chemnitz: The rise of the far right in eastern Germany

The motion comes just weeks after a far-right attack on a synagogue which killed two people in Halle around 145km west of Dresden.

East Germany as a whole has seen the rise of support for anti-immigrant, Islamophobic groups in recent years.

Following German reunification in 1990, unemployment skyrocketed in the east as the economy collapsed and jobs that were guaranteed under the communist regime disappeared.

Although the situation is improving, many in the region feel they have been left behind compared to their west German peers.

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