Police in Germany investigating a brutal attack by neo-Nazis on left-wing activists just over a week ago have uncovered close ties between far-right groups in Germany and Sweden.
The attack took place on Saturday Feb. 14 after protestors from across Germany had gathered in Dresden to oppose a huge demonstration by neo-Nazis to commemorate the World War II bombing of the city by the Allies. During the marches, which saw 10,000 demonstrators march against right-wing extremism as 6,000 neo-Nazis likewise took to the streets, police were able to keep the two sides apart. There were, however, some instances of violence as the groups made their way home.
In one particularly vicious attack a group of 15 to 20 neo-Nazis attacked two buses carrying labor union members, peace activists and members of the Left Party at the Teufelsstahl autobahn rest stop near Jena. Five people were injured in the attack and one of them, a 42-year-old man, suffered serious head injuries and had to undergo surgery.
Investigators now say that the suspects in the case include a 21-year-old Swedish right-wing extremist from Nynäshamn. He is reported to be a leading member of the "Blood and Honor Scandinavia" neo-Nazi network and he has a German-language Web site, registered in his own name, which specializes in propaganda. Video messages by Udo Voigt, the leader of Germany's far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), and by his deputy Jürgen Rieger, have been posted on the site.
According to German intelligence agencies, Scandinavian right-wing extremists have close ties with the "Aktionsbüro Rhein-Neckar" which coordinates the neo-Nazi scene in the western states of Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Württemberg. One of the leading figures from the alliance is considered a suspect in the case.
The right-wing extremists are reported to have left the scene of the assault in their bus. Although the police stopped the bus and took the passengers' details they did not make any arrests. At the time the police stopped the bus, they were unaware of the extent of the victims' injuries. According to the public prosecutor responsible for the case, all 41 passengers on the bus are now considered under "initial suspicion of grievous bodily harm and disturbing the peace in a particularly serious case."
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, considers 24 of these persons to be probable right-wing extremists. The preliminary investigation indicates that the Swedish neo-Nazi belonged to the group that carried out the attack. There is now a warrant out for his arrest.
In a separate incident on the same day in Dresden, a group of around 35 neo-Nazis hurled racist abuse at an Asian woman and her daughter in the city's central station. She was pushed against a wall and called an "ugly ape," and told she did not belong in Germany, the German daily Die Tageszeitung reports. The woman asked two passing police officers for help but they first called for reinforcements before intervening. By the time other police officers arrived at the scene the assailants had gone.