More than 7,000 people took to the streets of Hanover on Saturday as part of a demonstration to protect press freedom and against threats to journalists.
The march came in response to a rally organized by the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) against journalists. Only around 120 people attended the NPD rally, according to the police.
The counterdemonstration in the northern German state of Lower Saxony was welcomed by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. He tweeted: “One can see what applies throughout Germany: The neo-Nazis and fear makers, who hound journalists, are in the minority. Thank you to everyone who is protesting peacefully today against this unworthy parade.”
Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister, Boris Pistorius and Hanover’s newly installed Lord Mayor Belit Onay attended the counterprotest while the state’s premier, Stephan Weil, had asked people to come out against the far-right march, citing unfair intimidation of reporters.
“Say it loud and clear: far-right agitation against journalists … and press freedom are an attack on our democracy,” Weil said.
Four arrests but few incidents
Police concerns over possible outbreaks of violence between the two groups were thus far allayed, though four arrests were made.
In this image, we see the demonstration of the NPD against journalists with a banner in support of Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck
Hanover police banned the far-right group from demonstrating, but late Friday the Higher Administrative Court overturned the initial decision, deciding the NPD had the right to protest.
The NPD had promoted their march by posting a picture online of a broadcast journalist who has done in-depth reporting about far-right movements in Germany.
jsi/sms (dpa, epd, AP)