Cablegate: Lackluster Npd Demonstration in Frankfurt: "The Nation Not
PP RUEHAG RUEHDF RUEHLZ
DE RUEHFT #3233 1910740
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 100740Z JUL 07
FM AMCONSUL FRANKFURT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2393
INFO RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY
UNCLAS FRANKFURT 003233
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/AGS, EUR/PGI, S/CT
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER KCRM ASEC GM
SUBJECT: Lackluster NPD Demonstration in Frankfurt: "The Nation not
1. SUMMARY: On July 7, 500 to 700 NPD supporters demonstrated in
Frankfurt under the slogan "the Nation not Globalization," repeating
themes of far-right protesters of the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm in
early June. The Frankfurt city government licensed the demonstration
in the Neue Borse, an industrial, unpopulated suburb and the
marchers never came to the city center. A much larger official
counter-demonstration of some 2,000 participants rallied in the city
center's Roemerplatz, where Lord Mayor Petra Roth (CDU) gave an
address, while an additional 2,500 extreme left demonstrators
attempted to disrupt the NPD demonstration. An extraordinarily
large police presence (8,000 police officers pulled from all over
Germany) prevented extreme left protesters from facing off against
their right-wing counterparts, keeping violence and vandalism to a
minimum. Police estimate around 200 people were detained from both
sides, with only eight held on charges. The NPD had hoped to rally
2,000 demonstrators; far more than realized in fact. END SUMMARY.
2. The demonstration began two and a half hours late after
counter-protesters from the extreme left blocked train tracks,
preventing a special train of right-wing demonstrators from
arriving. The turnout of 500-700 NPD demonstrators, who came from
all over Germany, was substantially fewer than anticipated by
police, media sources, and the NPD itself. The low turnout was
partially ascribed to the fact that a similar protest took place in
Rostock, drawing right-wing extremists from the East. Media sources
described the demonstrators as unmotivated, disoriented and prone to
3. Helge Gerk, a specialist on Right-extremism for Common Centre for
Information and Analysis of Politically Motivated Crime (GIAZ),
observed that many of the NPD came from North-Rhine Westphalia,
Bavaria and especially Rheinland-Pfalz. He stated that within the
Hesse right-wing community, the demonstration was seen as a failure
both because of the poor turnout and their isolated rallying point.
Gerk also suggested, however, that those elements in the right
movement who want to appeal to a broader audience in the January
2008 Hesse state election should be pleased that the protest was
calm, thus avoiding the "bad Nazi" stereotype of the movement.
4. The much larger counter-demonstration on Roemerplatz included
representatives of the Catholic and Protestant churches, unions, the
Jewish community, and the Frankfurt youth organization "Jugendring."
Some representatives of the Central Council of Jews called for a ban
on the NPD.
5. Extreme left demonstrators remained relatively quiet until the
evening as the Frankfurt police kept them far away from the
right-wing demonstration. When the NPD participants left Frankfurt
at 8PM, however, they were bombarded with bottles. At the end of
the day, the police counted 190 detentions, only eight of whom were
held on charges.
6. COMMENT: The NPD's lackluster turnout demonstrates that the Hesse
NPD continues to rely on outside "comrades" from other states to
boost its presence. Right-wing politics enjoy little success in
Hesse: In the 2005 Bundestag election, the NPD garnered 1.5% and
1.2% on the first and second ballots. The focus and nature of the
protest showed some signs of NPD strategy for the January 2008 Hesse
state election. The NPD stressed its anti-globalization theme, an
issue that has resonance across the political spectrum in Germany.
The NPD also continued to avoid scenes of violence and extremism, in
an attempt to position itself as a "normal" political movement.
7. This cable was coordinated with Embassy Berlin.