Move to ban Hess rallies

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The Independent Online
BONN (Reuter) - The German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger called on the nation yesterday to shun extremism as neo-Nazis bent on holding rallies in memory of Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, made a last-minute move to circumvent efforts to ban the gatherings.

Hess became a symbolic figure for neo-Nazis after hanging himself on 17 August 1987 in Berlin's Spandau Prison, where he was serving a life sentence.

The extremists' Germany- wide plans for the weekend have so far been thwarted by the police but officials acknowledge that Bonn could not issue a total ban on all Hess rallies.

'Federal and state police are doing everything to stop the 'brown ghost' marching through Germany,' the Justice Minister said. Brown is a colour associated with the Nazi movement.

Neo-Nazis registered Hess demonstrations in several cities in what police suspect was a ploy to divert forces there while a rally was held elsewhere. But Thuringia and Brandenburg states and a series of cities in east and west Germany from Berlin to Hamburg, Frankfurt, Bonn, Schwerin and Rostock have outlawed the rallies. The Bavarian town of Wunsiedel, where Hess is buried, also banned a march.

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