Protesters Demonstrate Against Neo-Nazi Party Congress
NEUSTADT, West Germany (AP) _ Riot police arrested 14 people Saturday as about 800 demonstrators protesting a neo-Nazi party congress pelted officers with eggs and firecrackers and chanted, ″Don’t protect the fascists 3/8″
Hundreds of riot police armed with shields and truncheons surrounded a downtown hall where 300 delegates to the tiny, right-wing National Democratic Party of Germany were holding their annual party congress.
The police kept protesters from entering the meeting hall, where party members were gathered to elect new leaders.
Demonstrators and police clashed briefly in several separate incidents, but no injuries were reported, police squad leader Siegfried Kolb told The Associated Press.
Kolb said all of the 14 people arrested were released later in the day after police checked their identities. He said it was not immediately clear whether charges would be filed against them.
Earlier, the demonstrators marched peacefully carrying banners reading, ″No More Fascism, No More War,″ and ″Stop Fascists at the Beginning.′
Local trade unions organized the protest march after a regional court refused a request by Neustadt authorities to issue an order blocking the meeting.
The National Democratic Party claims 10,000 members across West Germany and received 0.25 percent of votes cast in the last national election. Under West German law the party cannot be banned because it does not advocate overthrowing the government.
Party spokesman Karl-Heinz Vorsatz said delegates were unmoved by the demonstration outside their meeting hall.
″We are used to much worse,″ he said.