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Archive for September 21st, 2008

COLOGNE, Germany (AFP) — German police said tens of thousands of Cologne residents took to the streets Saturday in protest at an “anti-Islamisation” conference of European far-right leaders.

Carrying banners saying: “We are Cologne — Get rid of the Nazis!,” protesters gathered outside the city’s cathedral to demonstrate against the congress organised by the local far-right group Pro-Koeln (For Cologne).

Pro-Koeln began two days of seminars Friday during which speakers denounced an influx of Muslims to Germany and the construction of one of Europe’s largest mosques in the city.

Earlier Saturday, police banned a rally organised by far-right adherents in Cologne just as it was about to begin, following clashes with thousands of opponents.

Some 3,000 police, drafted in to control the protests and seal off part of the old city, used truncheons and water hoses to fend off violent “anti-fascist” leftist activists.

“It is a dictatorship!” said a Pro-Koeln member of the decision to ban the far-right rally.

Andreas Molzer, a member of the European Parliament and an Austrian far-right group who attended the congress, called the ban an “anti-democratic scandal.”

(more…)

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