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The BBC's Rob Broomby
"It is time to consider banning extreme right-wing parties"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 15:28 GMT 16:28 UK
German minister wants neo-Nazi ban
NPD, skin heads
Minister wants tough action to curb neo-Nazi attacks
A senior member of the German Government is calling for a ban on extreme right-wing parties in Germany, following a wave of attacks on Jews and foreigners.

The Green Party Environment Minister, Juergen Trittin, proposed court action and raised the prospect of a ban on groups like the far-right National Party, the NPD.


We need strong law enforcement and we must discuss whether we should ban parties like the National Democratic Party

Environment Minister Juergen Trittin

Similar proposals were made by politicians from the state of Bavaria and the police officers' trade union.

Public pressure for action has grown after a bomb blast last week at a railway station in Duesseldorf, which injured 10 recent immigrants, six of them Jews. The attacks were blamed on neo-Nazi groups.

Mr Trittin is on record as saying that the death toll now from right-wing attacks has already exceeded the number of killings by extreme left groups during their campaign of violence in the 1970s.

Outspoken

"There has always been hostility toward foreigners, but what we are now experiencing is beginning to take on a new dimension," said Mr Trittin.

"Many radical-right culprits believe they are acting in consensus with the population. We must destroy the belief that they are secretly acting on behalf of the population."

Mr Trittin is regarded as one of the more outspoken members of Chancellor Schroeder's government. A ban has traditionally been regarded as potentially counter-productive.

survivors of the Nazi Concentration camp, Sachsenhausen
Public pressure mounts against neo-Nazis
But the deputy leader of the police officers' trade union, Konrad Freiberg, has already given the idea his backing.

He said it would help with what he called the logistics of breaking up the neo-Nazi scene.

The authorities in Germany have already drafted plans to curb right-wing violence against foreigners.

State and federal interior ministry officials have agreed to concentrate their efforts on known neo-Nazi organisations, as well as improving security at Jewish sites.

Proposed action
Ban far-right groups
Shut down neo-Nazi internet sites
Improve security for Jews
Compile racists list
This would include, where possible, shutting down neo-Nazi sites on the internet, which is being used to link different extremist groups.

The officials said they would also set up a national database listing people convicted of racist offences to help the police concentrate their efforts.

There have also been demands for tougher penalties for offenders.

However, the German Justice Minister, Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, said that new laws were not needed, but existing ones must be more strictly enforced.

Punished

She said that anyone who committed an anti-foreigner crime must know that they would be severely punished.

Statistics released by the German Government on Monday show an increase in anti-Semitic offences in the past three months to 157, compared with 110 cases during the same period last year.

Other offences by right-wing extremists, generally against foreigners, also rose.

The problem is particularly severe in eastern Germany, which is still suffering from high unemployment and the huge social changes that followed the collapse of communism.

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