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German Neo-Nazi March Protested

February 10, 2001

HAGEN, Germany (AP) _ Thousands more protesters than expected turned out Saturday to demonstrate against a neo-Nazi march in western Germany that drew 250 people.

About 7,500 counter-demonstrators came to the march organized by the Federation of German Unions, far exceeding the 5,000 expected. Police said 200 protesters tried to break through barriers and disrupt the neo-Nazi march.

The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia state, Wolfgang Clement, had called for a peaceful demonstration.

Counter-demonstrations against neo-Nazis are fairly common in Germany, which is trying to combat a wave of hate crimes that is the worst since an outbreak just after reunification in 1990.

The neo-Nazis were allowed to demonstrate but banned from wearing jack boots or bomber jackets, and were not allowed to march in rows or beat drums.

``We wanted to prevent a uniformed march because that would frighten people,″ police spokeswoman Ute Hellmann said.

Meanwhile, police in Bavaria said a group of about 40 neo-Nazis and youths of Russian origin got into a fight at a disco Friday night, slightly injuring two people. Police in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania also said Saturday that a Jewish cemetery in the town of Bruel had been vandalized with swastikas and SS symbols. It wasn’t known when the damage occurred

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