World Bulletin/News Desk
The German capital Berlin is scrambling to ban a planned rally by neo-Nazis and self-styled soccer hooligans after rioting in Cologne in which 49 police officers were injured.
Sunday's clashes, when some 4,000 hooligans - many drunk - and neo-Nazis hurled objects at police who responded with pepper spray and water cannons, raised fears of violent youths with no political agenda joining forces with a racist group.
The hooligans - as they term themselves - want to stage a protest against Salafists at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate on Nov. 15, a week after the capital celebrates the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Berlin's senator for interior affairs Frank Henkel told ARD television he had heard talk of 10,000 people wanting to attend.
"We will do everything we can to ban the demonstration," said Henkel. "We are experiencing a new quality, a new dimension of street violence and militancy. (In Cologne) it was clear from the start that it was not about a political statement but seeking physical clashes, especially with the police."
However, although German courts regularly ban marches by neo-Nazi groups, Henkel said this should be decided on a case-by-case basis rather than trying to impose a long-term ban.
Germany's domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, monitors neo-Nazis and the far left but does not currently keep watch on football hooligans, perceiving most as apolitical.
"They see their values, Western values, if I can put it like that, as beer drinking and beating people up," said BfV president Hans-Georg Maassen. "We have, however, established that there were a lot of right-wing extremists trying to mix in with the hooligans (in Cologne)."
The German security services have warned of an increased risk of street violence between rival radical groups while sounding an alarm about a rising number of militants inside the country ready to join ISIL.
The marchers in Cologne bellowed "Hooligans against Salafists" and "Foreigners out!"
Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Ekim 2014, 16:40