1,500 demonstrators thwart 400 Nazis
On 26 April, for the third time within a few weeks, Nazis held a demonstration through Stolberg, near Aachen, disguised as a funeral march.
The reason the National Democratic Party Germany (NPD) gave for the march, was the death of a 19 year-old, who was killed during an argument. The strategy of the Nazis seems to be to make a martyr of his death and then use Stolberg as an annual place of pilgrimage.
However today, this was prevented by a loud, colourful and strong counter demonstration. 1,500 people from Stolberg and the region – but also from Belgium and the Netherlands came to bar the Nazis’ way.
Two weeks ago 800 Nazis marched but this time the number was halved with only 400 at the rally, although the national leaders of the NPD and the JN (its youth wing) had been advertised as speakers.
An alliance of different groups and organisations of the anti-fascist left called for the counter-demonstration. The main participants were ‘Solid’ (the youth organisation of the new left party in Germany ‘DIE LINKE’) and SAV (CWI organisation in Germany).
The week before the demonstration, thousands of leaflets were distributed, posters were put up and street stalls were organised to prepare for the demonstration.
The mayor of Stolberg called on all parties represented in the city council to hold a rally the day before the demonstration. They claimed this way the city could give the Nazis “the cold shoulder” on Saturday.
In contrast the main slogan on Saturday was to stop the Nazis. The counter demonstration was well organised, stressing politically that people who were not in any anti-fascist movements should also come to the demonstration.
Representative of ‘DIE LINKE’, ‘solid’, SAV, several trade unions, and also members of the youth organisation of the Green Party and residents from Stolberg spoke at the demonstration.
Marc Treude, SAV member and councillor for ‘DIE LINKE’ in Aachen, had officially registered the counter demonstration. He alluded to the political scandal that Nazis were given permission for the third time to march through the ‘Mühlenviertel’ district where lots of migrants live. He called on the police to clear the way for the anti-fascist demonstration to march through this district to show solidarity to the inhabitants. “We fight against every kind of racism. We demand: No toehold for the Fascists! No Streets, no places, no rooms!”, he shouted to big applause.
The police stopped the demonstration of the anti-fascists shortly before the Nazis’ rally.
Manfred Engelhardt, chairman of the shop steward network representing workers in students unions in the North Rhine Westphalia region, draw the connection between capitalism, racism and the neo-Nazis. Jörg Jörisson, member of ‘solid’ in Aachen, alluded to the necessity to organise and to fight against racism and social cuts at the same time.
Lucy Redler spoke for the SAV Berlin. She underlined the role of big business that cut jobs, despite grants and record profits. Thus, she said, we have to fight back together, whatever nationality you belong to. Against the racist slogans of the Nazis, we have to put the international idea of socialism.
Militant demonstration – for six hours!
After a vocal march through Stolberg city centre, the demonstration went on to ‘Olof-Palme-Friedensplatz’, in ear- and eyeshot of the NPD rally that had just started.
The police built a massive corridor, but nevertheless the anti-fascists protested vocally for another three hours – until the last Nazi went home.
The action was successful, showing that with a good demonstration it is possible to thwart the Nazis in the same place at the same time. The next time – if the union leaders discover their responsibility and seriously mobilise a counter march another Nazi demonstration could be stopped completely.