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Saturday, January 24, 1998 Published at 17:00 GMT


Neo-Nazis battle with opponents
image: [ A massive police presence accompanied right-wing marchers through the snow... ]
A massive police presence accompanied right-wing marchers through the snow...

Violence erupted between neo-fascists and their opponents as they gathered for rival demonstrations sparked by a controversial anti-Nazi exhibition in Dresden.

[ image: ...while left-wingers held a counter-demonstration across town]
...while left-wingers held a counter-demonstration across town
More than 3,000 police were drafted in from across Germany to keep order at the marches in different parts on Saturday morning.

Trouble on a train

Several people were hurt, however, in violent scuffles at Wurzen train station when the far-right youths began to throw stones at a train carrying their opponents to Dresden.

A left-wing protester pulled the emergency brake and the two groups brawled for about an hour inside and in front of the train, before police brought the clash under control and sent the demonstrators home.

Later, about 1,000 supporters of the far-fight National Democratic Party (NPD) party marched through the streets of Dresden to a rally.

They were protesting against a controversial touring Exhibition, "War of Extermination: Crimes of the Wehrmacht from 1941 to 1944" which documents the murder of Jews by German soldiers.

[ image: The exhibition has angered many by depicting ordinary Germans as eager participants in Hitler's genoicdal schemes]
The exhibition has angered many by depicting ordinary Germans as eager participants in Hitler's genoicdal schemes
The exhibition has been touring German cities for three years and has attracted demonstrations by neo-nazis at each venue.

The displays show Hitler's regular soldiers committing atrocities alongside notorious units like the SS. It has incensed those Germans who maintain ordinary soldiers only fought the enemy.

At the exhibition's opening in Dresden on Tuesday, some visitors wore neckties in the colours of the German flag to show support for the former Wehrmacht.

Legal moves to halt rally failed

When the National Party revealed its intention to demonstrate against the exhibition, city officials attempted to block its plans in Dresden's Administrative Court.

As the group is not banned by the German federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the court ruled it had a right to express its views.

The city authority's appealed to a Saxony state higher administrative court but lost.

The state court also permitted the counter-demonstration by the anti-fascist Alliance and the DGB, a German trade union youth movement.

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