Bonn bans second neo-Nazi movement

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BERLIN - The German government's determination to stamp out right-wing extremism was underlined further yesterday when it announced a ban on the neo-Nazi German Alternative (DA) movement, writes Adrian Bridge.

The ban, the second to be imposed on a neo-Nazi organisation within two weeks, was accompanied by a nationwide police raid on homes of suspected DA members and the arrest of two men accused of providing firearms to right-wing extremists.

Rudolf Seiters, the Interior Minister, said that the DA, which has a membership of some 350, embraced many of the racist policies contained in the programme of Hitler's National Socialist Party. Last month Mr Seiters banned the Nationalist Front.

Since its formation in May 1989, the DA has become one of the most important neo-Nazi groups in eastern Germany. Its leader, Frank Hubner, is said to use armed skinhead bodyguards to intimidate local citizens and the police. According to Mr Seiters, DA members were involved in two fire-bomb attacks against foreigners' hostels in late 1991 and an assault against left-wingers earlier this year. In its literature, much of which was seized during the police raids yesterday, the group declares that 'racial mixing means the death of the German people'.

The trial of Erich Honecker, East Germany's former leader, on manslaughter charges, was adjourned until Monday after defence lawyers protested over the presentation of signed documents purporting to prove that Mr Honecker had issued shoot-to-kill orders concerning would-be escapers at the Berlin Wall.