German far-right considering expelling three members

Alternative for Germany considering expelling three members who attended a neo-Nazi festival.

Ben Ariel,

AfD party members
AfD party members
Reuters

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is considering expelling three members who attended a neo-Nazi festival, The Associated Press reported Monday.

According to the report, the party’s regional leadership in the northwestern city of Osnabrueck has stepped down after media reports that two of its members and a party employee participated in the “Shield and Sword” festival.

The event drew hundreds of neo-Nazis to the eastern town of Ostritz in April, with some participants openly displaying their support for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, according to AP.

The AfD captured nearly 13 percent of the vote and almost 100 seats in parliament in the election in September of 2017.

The party has a history of controversial statements. Party member Bjoern Hoecke caused a firestorm in February of 2017 when he suggested that Germany should end its decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past.

He also criticized the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, saying, "We Germans, our people, are the only people in the world who have planted a monument of shame in the heart of the capital.”

Germany's vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, blasted Hoecke over the remarks, saying, "This is not just some kind of provocation. We must never let this kind of demagoguery be undisputed.”

Germany's Central Council of Jews criticized Hoecke as well and accused him of trampling on the six million Jewish Holocaust victims murdered by the Nazis.

Hoecke ultimately apologized for his controversial remarks. In June, AfD leaders ended a drive to have Hoecke expelled.

The party recently urged members not to associate with extremists after authorities said they were putting two youth branches under observation, according to AP.




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