The first time I saw a new-Nazi march here, right past our window on Bornholmer, it was more amusing than appalling. There were maybe 30 people involved, more than half evidently from out of town, surrounded by hundreds of police and probably thousands of protestors. Before it happened, locals distributed flyers asking people along the march to blast their stereos and drown out the marchers. I figured a Chipmunks song was fairly appropriate.
Another right-winger march happened yesterday in Lichtenberg (a relatively poor eastern neighborhood known for its right-leaning tendencies). This time the numbers were more daunting. According to the Morgenpost, about 750 marchers (ie, neo-Nazi types) showed up, with about 700 protestors. Naturally police presence was high, with 1600 cops on the beat. Bottles were thrown, and somewhere around 70 people arrested, from both sides.
That’s a lot of marchers. Berlin is overwhelmingly liberal, even left-wing, with a fabulous gay mayor and anti-Nazi stickers and graffiti everywhere. It’s never going to fall too far to the right. But economic dislocation could well swell the extreme fringes on both sides. That hasn’t worked out well here in the past.