In an otherwise small and unknown German town of Ostritz, over a 1,000 Nazi supporters and other associated groups are set to march over this weekend. The event will mark the 129th birthday of Adolf Hitler.
In an effort to protest the event, local politicians and civic leaders will be holding a ‘Peace Festival‘, one designed to counter the message of the neo-nazis arriving in the town. Members of the Antifa movement are also expected to gather for a counter-protest, though theirs will likely take a decisively different tone from that of the ‘Peace Festival‘.
Located close to the Polish border, the small town of Ostritz will play host to the ‘Shield and Sword’ (SS) festival on Friday and Saturday. The event is organized by the National Democratic Party of Germany as a social gathering for various fringe right-wing groups.
Anti-Fascists from both Poland and Germany will be holding there own festival named “Rechts Rockt Nicht!” (The right does not rock), which will take place right next to the NDP’s event.
The controversy has put authorities on guard, with the local media reporting that roughly 1,000 police officers from across Saxony and other regions will be deployed to Ostritz.
Lars Geiges, from the University of Gottingen, said that the organizers of ‘Shield and Sword’ were ordered by the authorities to submit their speeches for review before the event. Talking to Al Jazeera, he said:
“If the conditions are violated or if the police identify other unconstitutional behaviours – such as denying the Holocaust or showing the ‘Hitler greeting’ – the meeting can be ended,”
The NDP’s event has received country-wide condemnation, with 40 German mayors signing a letter condemning the event. Their collective statement released yesterday read:
“Those who question human rights and those opposed to democracy and pluralism are not welcome here.”
Featured Image Credits: EPA