BERLIN (AP) — Hundreds of neo-Nazis waving flags with the colors of the German Reich marched through central Berlin Saturday, protected from counter-protesters by police in riot gear.
Berlin police spokesman Thilo Cablitz said officers had to physically remove some left-wing demonstrators who had staged sit-down protests along the route of Saturday’s march.
He added that stones and bottles were thrown at some of the far-right protesters, but couldn’t immediately say how many people were injured.
The far-right protesters, including an Adolf Hitler lookalike, wore white shirts to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the death of high-ranking Nazi official Rudolf Hess and carried banners with slogans such as “I regret nothing.”
Hess, who received a life sentence at the Nuremberg trials for his role in planning World War II, died on Aug. 17, 1987.
Earlier this month, German police said 401 anti-Semitic crimes were reported throughout the country in the first half of this year, a 10.7 percent increase from the 362 hate crimes reported in the first six months of 2017.
The data also showed the vast majority of the crimes (349) were perpetrated by neo-Nazis or other far-right extremists. Police said six of the anti-Semitic crimes reported in 2018 so far were motivated by “religious ideology,” which would include attacks motivated by anti-Israel hatred.
But Jewish officials contested that claim, saying many more attacks were carried out by Muslim extremists than recorded by police.