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German city fights neo-Nazi graffiti with street art

September 6, 2019
"Nazi-Kiez" stands on a wall, opposite a house on which imperial flags hang out of the windows in Dortmund' Germany, Friday, Sept.6, 2019. Under the protection of the police, graffiti artists have sprayed Nazi graffiti. With the action on Friday morning, the city, police and committed citizens wanted to send a signal against right-wing agitation and right-wing extremism. (Fabian Strauch/dpa via AP)
"Nazi-Kiez" stands on a wall, opposite a house on which imperial flags hang out of the windows in Dortmund' Germany, Friday, Sept.6, 2019. Under the protection of the police, graffiti artists have sprayed Nazi graffiti. With the action on Friday morning, the city, police and committed citizens wanted to send a signal against right-wing agitation and right-wing extremism. (Fabian Strauch/dpa via AP)

BERLIN (AP) — Artists in the western German city of Dortmund have sprayed over neo-Nazi graffiti in a street that far-right extremists have long claimed as their territory.

Under the watchful eye of Dortmund police, the artists covered neo-Nazi slogans with colorful images in the city’s Dorstfeld district early Friday.

The move was commissioned by a civil society group called Association for Diversity, Tolerance and Democracy, and sanctioned by city authorities and police.

City authorities said the far-right graffiti has been “a thorn in the eye” for years, used by neo-Nazis to “intimidate and scare away people who think differently.”

The top security official in North Rhine-Westphalia state, Herbert Reul, said neo-Nazis “mustn’t be given a millimeter’s room.”

Dorstfeld has in the past seen numerous violent attacks by far-right extremists.

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