Germany has banned a local chapter of the US-based Hammerskins neo-Nazi group known for its white supremacist rock concerts, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.
Hammerskins Deutschland, a group of around 130 people, aimed to spread “a racial doctrine based on Nazi ideology”, a statement said.
Police raided the homes of 28 group members across several regions on Tuesday morning, including Berlin and Bavaria, it said. Some subchapters of the group and a spin-off known as Crew 28 were also banned.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said it was “a hard blow against organised right-wing extremism” that would send “a clear signal against racism and antisemitism”.
The group played a “prominent” role in the right-wing extremist scene in Europe, according to the ministry.
It is the 20th right-wing extremist group to be banned in Germany.
The group’s purpose was “to live out and consolidate their right-wing extremist ideology, especially through concerts”, the ministry said.
Police found weapons during raids targeting the group in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern on Tuesday.
The ammunition recovery service had to be deployed, the state’s interior ministry reported. Objects with the organisation’s symbols have also been banned.
The ban was prepared for over a year with help from the US authorities.
The US-based group was founded in 1988.
There were some 38,800 people in the right-wing extremist spectrum in Germany in 2022, according to a report presented by the federal domestic intelligence agency in June, up from 33,900 in 2021.
The number considered potentially violent also rose from 13,500 to 14,000.
Far-right extremism was “the biggest extremist threat to our democracy”, Faeser said.
In February 2020, a far-right extremist shot dead 10 people and wounded five others in the central German city of Hanau.
More recently, police in December swooped on a far-right group led by a self-styled prince who allegedly intended to violently overthrow the state and install a new government.
Additional reporting by dpa
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