BERLIN — Three-quarters of Germans want the neo-Nazi NPD party banned, a poll showed on Friday, after the discovery of an extreme far-right cell believed to have murdered 10 people, mainly Turkish shopkeepers.
The survey, by polling agency Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, revealed that 77 percent of Germans want the NPD (National Democratic Party of Germany) outlawed, with 19 percent saying it should remain legal.
Four percent said they did not know.
Germany has been stunned by the discovery of a small neo-Nazi group believed to be responsible for the unsolved murders of eight men of Turkish origin and a Greek between 2000 and 2006 as well as a policewoman in 2007.
The case has sparked allegations that the country may have turned a blind eye to the threat posed by right-wing extremism, despite Germany’s deep-seated shame over its Nazi past.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the murders were a “disgrace for Germany”.
In Zwickau, the town in the former communist East Germany where the neo-Nazi group lived for years, around 1,500 people demonstrated to support democracy and tolerance.
When dusk fell on the town, residents walked to the city centre and lit candles to pay homage to the victims of the racist cell.
Meanwhile a working group has been set up to examine whether to pursue a ban of the NPD.
Police have in custody three suspected accomplices of the suspected killing cell — the National Social Underground (NSU) — two members of which were found dead this month in an apparent suicide.
The country’s president, Christian Wulff, announced on Thursday there would be a remembrance service for the victims in February. Berlin has already pledged to compensate their families.
The NPD, which recently merged with the small far-right German People’s Union (DVU), was set up in 1964 by former Nazis. In 2009 it had between 6,000 and 7,000 members.
It has never won seats in the country’s federal parliament but has gained representation in several regional parliaments.
The survey of 1,276 people was conducted between November 22 and 24, the polling agency said.
Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.
Photo by redakcja JD (Jednodniowka Narodowa – 2000 Maj) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.