Hundreds of Neo-Nazis are expected to gather in Berlin to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of Hitler’s first deputy and right-hand man Rudolf Hess. A counter-rally has also been announced in the German capital.
The rally started at 12pm local time and heavily-armored police already separated the Neo-Nazis from counter-demonstration in the capital.
Some 500 people are expected to join the rally in the Spandau area of Berlin.
Hess, a prominent Nazi, hanged himself at the age of 93 in Spandau prison August 17, 1987, roughly 30 years ago.
Berlin police gave permission to far-right extremists to hold the rally in the city. However, police told the organizers that the protest should be held with certain restrictions.
The protesters are not allowed to glorify Hess “in word, writing or image” or use military music during the march. Also the number of banners have been restricted – one for every 50 participants.
The demonstrators are allowed to use two pieces by Beethoven and two by Wagner during the march, the court order said, as cited by Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.
Berliner Kurier newspaper released a route, which the demonstration should reportedly use.
“I regret nothing,” a banner held by demonstrators read during the neo-Nazi march.
The measures are aimed at balancing free speech rights and rights of counter-demonstrators, Sven Richwin, a Berlin lawyer told AP.
“Anything intimidating is ‘verboten,’ [Eng: forbidden]” Richwin added.
In the meantime, left-wing groups are holding a counter-protest, expected to draw some 1,000 people, in Spandau, AP reported.
Hess was an important figure during Adolf Hitler’s era. He was the deputy Führer from 1933 until he embarked on a covert mission to Britain in 1941 in an effort to secure a peace treaty between the UK and Nazi Germany.
He was given a life sentence during the Nuremberg trials, a series of military tribunals held by the Allies which prosecuted prominent Nazis for war crimes.
Hess was transferred to Spandau Prison following the trials and spent there some 40 years until his death. He was the only Spandau inmate during his last 20 years of imprisonment. Neo-Nazi theories claim that Hess was murdered and his followers consider him a martyr.