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Beer ban leaves German neo-Nazi rock fans thirsty

Far-right fans at Ostritz festival, ZDF screenshot

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Some fans sported T-shirts with Nazi-style symbols

Beer and marching songs may have fuelled Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, but neo-Nazis faced an alcohol ban at a German rock festival at the weekend.

The ban was a new tool in the fight against neo-Nazi influence. Some 2,000 locals in the eastern town of Ostritz also rallied against the far right.

Police seized 4,200 litres (924 UK gallons) of beer in Ostritz on Friday, then 200 litres more on Saturday.

Locals also bought more than 200 crates of beer in the town’s supermarkets.

They suspected that fans going to the “Shield and Sword” (SS) festival would descend on supermarkets, knowing about the alcohol ban, which had been imposed by a Dresden court.

An Ostritz society activist, Georg Salditt, told Germany’s popular Bild daily: “The plan was devised a week in advance. We wanted to dry the Nazis out. We thought, if an alcohol ban is coming, we’ll empty the shelves at the Penny [supermarket].”

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Some locals bought up supermarket beer crates to stop the neo-Nazis getting them

Ostritz, near the Polish border, already has a reputation for far-right activism – something locals were determined to correct at the weekend.

Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung daily says 500-600 fans attended the festival, compared with some 1,200 last year.

About 1,400 police were deployed at the festival, including hundreds from other parts of Germany. Saxony regional police said the operation went smoothly and there were just a few minor incidents.

The police tweeted photos of their alcohol seizures.

A local woman explained to ZDF television why the neo-Nazis were unwelcome. “For us it’s important to send the message from Ostritz that there are people here who won’t tolerate this, who say ‘we have different values here, we’re setting an example, which is not the image of a far-right concert, which dominates the media coverage’.”

The Dresden court justified its ban on alcohol at the festival by saying “the event has an obviously martial and aggressive character”, and there was a risk that alcohol could make violence more likely.

Chemnitz, an eastern city, saw big far-right demonstrations last August.

Beer ban leaves German neo-Nazi rock fans thirsty

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