German Police Launch Probes Into Suspected Crimes Committed at neo-Nazi Rally

More than 600 neo-Nazis marched through Berlin on Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Rudolf Hess ■ Clashes with counter-protesters erupted, prompting police to detain 26 people

People carrying a banner reading 'I don't regret anything' at a demonstration commemorating the 31st death anniversary of Rudolf Hess in Berlin, August 18, 2018.
Christoph Soeder,AP

German police have launched 45 investigation proceedings in connection with suspected crimes committed during a neo-Nazi rally and counter-demonstrations in Berlin on Saturday.

The suspected crimes include assault, breach of the peace, criminal property damage, violations of the right to assembly and resisting law enforcement, a police spokeswoman said Sunday.

More than 600 neo-Nazi participants marched through the city's Friedrichshain district to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Rudolf Hess, a deputy of Adolf Hitler and leading Nazi party figure during World War II. 

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They were met by a far greater number of counter-protesters, some of whom threw stones and bottles at neo-Nazi participants. Police said they detained 29 people, and that six officers were injured.

The right-wing extremist march was originally planned for the western district of Spandau, where Hess was serving a life prison sentence when he committed suicide in 1987.

Activists from Germany's Green Party, the Social Democratic Party and the German workers' union were among the counter-protesters who gathered in Spandau to rally against the annual neo-Nazi event. Around 2,300 police officers were deployed to prevent clashes between the right-wingers and counterdemonstrators.

Last year's neo-Nazi rally, which marked 30 years since Hess's death, featured hundreds of participants.