German court bans ‘hang the Greens’ election posters put up by neo-Nazis

FRANKFURT, Germany — A court in Germany orders neo-Nazi election posters bearing the slogan “hang the Greens” to be taken down, after they were initially allowed to stay in place.

The upper administrative court in Bautzen, Saxony, overturns a provisional ruling, which permitted the posters from the radical far-right group “The Third Way” (Der III. Weg) to be displayed away from Green party election materials.

The Third Way has incited controversy with divisive public campaigns in the run up to national elections in Germany on September 26.

On Saturday, the group displayed blood-smeared dummies representing the three candidates to be chancellor from the mainstream parties, the conservatives’ Armin Laschet, Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats and Annalena Baerbock of the Greens, in the Bavarian city of Wuerzburg.

Local officials in the city of Zwickau had ordered the removal of the radicals’ election posters before their decision was overturned by a district court.

But an upper court has now rejected the lower court’s decision.

The posters were an incitement to hatred, the ruling says, and “disturbed public peace with an attack on the human dignity of Green party members.”

Initial arguments that the removal constituted an undue limitation on freedom of expression are dismissed by the court, which says that this concern falls under “the defense of public safety” in this case.

A 2020 report from the German domestic intelligence service described The Third Way as a “meeting place for individuals in the neo-Nazi scene.”

The Greens have been regular targets for far-right activists, who accuse the party of wanting to implement widespread bans, including on combustion engines, under the banner of the fight against climate change.

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