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article imageDresden Neo-Nazi protest overwhelmed by anti-Nazi opponents

By Stephanie Dearing     Feb 14, 2010 in World
German's neo-Nazis gathered at the Neustadt Railway station in Dresden for the annual event in which neo-Nazis commemorate the bombing of Dresden by the Allies during World War II.
Dresden, Germany - Police say approximately 5,000 neo-Nazis gathered in preparation for a "funeral march" to mark the deaths of Germans killed in the Allied bombing of the city 65 years ago. Anticipating trouble, the police presence numbered approximately 5,000. But it was the anti-Nazis who were the story Saturday. Police estimate between 10,000 to 15,000 people showed up to block the neo-Nazis. The anti-Nazis joined hands in a human chain to prevent the neo-Nazi's from gaining access to Dresden's city center. Spokesperson for Dresden without Nazis, Lena Roth told media "We have for the first time succeeded in preventing the biggest neo-Nazi march in Europe."
Dresden without Nazis is a loose alliance of many different Dreden groups. The weather Saturday was cold, but those who gathered to oppose the neo-Nazis said it difficult to stay outside, but it was worthwhile. In spite of the heavy police presence, there were scuffles, injuries and arrests.
The neo-Nazis have gathered on each anniversary of the bombing of Dresden, which took place 65 years ago, to draw attention to the "suffering of the German people." Neo-Nazis maintain that the bombing of Dresden was a "halocaust" for the Germans. However, those who turned out to opposed the neo-Nazis said it was important to remember the Nazis had caused World War II.
Dresden city officials and residents mark the anniversary of the bombing every year. This year, thousands of Dresden residents marked the anniversary in a candle-light ceremony on Saturday night.
The neo-Nazis had come to Dresden from around Germany. The pro-Nazis were violent, and police warned them they could not guarantee their safety. There were clashes between police and neo-Nazis, resulting in some injuries. Pro-Nazi protesters also lit barricades on fire.
The Neustadt Railway station is significant to the neo-Nazis because during the war, it is where the Nazis sent off trains full of thousands of Jews and other people to Auschwitz.
During the war, Allied Forces thought Dresden was "a vital command center" for the Nazis. The bombing mission took 12 hours to complete, and when done, Dresden was destroyed. An exact death toll is not known, but estimates range from between 25,000 to 100,000 deaths. The raid has remained controversial, and to this day, the death toll remains debated. Dresden has since been rebuilt.
In 2005, a large contingent of approximately 5,000 neo-Nazis managed to disrupt commemorative ceremonies in Dresden, marking the anniversary.
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