04:55 GMT +313 November 2019
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    Neo-Nazis stand in line to enter a concert in Themar, eastern Germany on July 15, 2017

    Over 5,000 Neo-Nazis Descend on Small German Town for Rock Concert

    © AFP 2019 / Bodo Schackow / dpa
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    Over 5,000 neo-Nazis have descended on a small town in Thuringia for an annual far-right concert there.

    A neo-Nazi rock concert in Thuringia, east-central Germany, was allowed to go ahead on Saturday despite the protests of local people.

    The annual concert is held in the small town of Themar, which has just 2913 inhabitants. By early evening on Saturday, more than 5,500 neo-Nazis had arrived for the concert, the German broadcaster WDR reported.

    Around 5,000 people were expected to attend the event, the biggest-ever audience for the concert. It is called "Rock gegen Ueberfremdung" (Rock against too many foreigners). 

    Amid security fears, about 1,000 extra police officers had traveled to Themar and were searching revelers before they entered the field. The far-right revelers wore T-shirts emblazoned with slogans such as "Sturm auf Themar" (Storm of Themar) and "Frei wie ein Vogel," (Free as a Bird) the title of a famous song by the right-wing extremist group Kategorie C.

    'Storm on Themar" T-shirts thhat Nazis are weaking in #Themar! today. There are currently estimated to be 6000. # Thr1507 #thueringen #nonazis​'

    Local mayor Hubert Boese told Der Spiegel on Friday that he regrets that the authorities were not able to forbid the event, which is taking place on private land. 

    "The event is (legally) covered by the right of assembly. The state of law makes it very easy for these people to hold this kind of concert under the cover of the freedom of assembly," Boese explained, adding that the city was preparing some anti-fascist events in protest.

    Several anti-fascist protests had been planned to coincide with the concert, with authorities talking of 2,000 expected anti-fascist protestors. However, there were just 75 protestors at the entrance to the concert, police said, adding that violence is unlikely since the neo-Nazis are enclosed in the field for the duration of the concert.

    "The people of our town are a bit frightened. Many residents are now thinking of the images of riots at the G20 summit. The violence in Hamburg was worrying, I hope it does not come to clashes," Boese said.

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    Tags:
    far-right extremism, rock, concert, Neo-nazis, Germany
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