07/28/2009 02:53 PM

Court Rejects Eviction Request

Tensions Mount in Neo-Nazi Hotel Case

Despite efforts to have them evicted, right-wing extremists in Germany continue to occupy a hotel building they plan to turn into a training center. And now police fear a violent clash between local left-wingers and their new neo-Nazi neighbors.

Bullets have been fired and weapons confiscated. But as tensions between left and right wing groups mount, a court has rejected an application to evict a group of neo-Nazis from a disused hotel in the village of Fassberg, in the northern German state of Lower Saxony.

Neo Nazi training ground? If the squatters are allowed to stay, this hotel could become a hub for right-wing extremists.

Neo Nazi training ground? If the squatters are allowed to stay, this hotel could become a hub for right-wing extremists.

The Hotel Gerhus went into receivership just one day before Jürgen Rieger, deputy leader of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), signed a 10-year lease on the property. That has sparked controversyabout whether the neo-Nazis are there legally or whether they are squatting.

The receiver himself, Jens Wilhelm, had hoped to be granted a court order this week to force the neo-Nazis off the property. But he was unsuccessful and will now have to wait for a court hearing at the end of the month. Reacting to the decision, Wilhelm told Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper: "What could be more urgent than vacating an illegally occupied hotel?"

Guns Fired, Fears of Violence

And as Wilhelm's frustrations grow, so too do those of left-wing groups outraged by reported plans to convert the hotel into a neo-Nazi youth camp and training center. After shots were fired in the area over the weekend -- nobody was injured -- police seized pepper spray from two left-wingers and a baton from a group of right-wingers. Local police are also stepping up their presence because of fears of a violent clash between left and right. Local police spokesman Christian Riebandt said: "We have squad cars patrolling the area around the hotel around the clock."

The right of the neo-Nazis to remain in the 80-room hotel will be depend on whether a court deems their current lease -- signed off by the debt-ridden owners just one day before they went into receivership -- legal and valid.

ecb -- with wire reports


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