Today Hamburg played host to what was being touted as the largest neo-Nazi gathering in Germany. They had an approved route in Wandsbek and 1000 people were expected to attend. The City decided to officially counter with an all-day family-friendly event in front of the Rathaus under the name “Hamburg bekennt Farbe!” (Hamburg acknowledges colour)
I had a morbid curiosity to see a group of actual, real-life neo-Nazis since I’ve seen never recognised one on the street, so my friends and I joined the alternative blockade in Wandsbek, which was more grassroots and leftist.
Wandsbeker Chausee was blocked off. Police cars lined the streets. It was very quiet and we wondered why nothing was happening until someone yelled, “The Nazis are here!” We followed some punks to a parallel street, where a little group with fascist-coloured balloons and flags were 100 m away, separated from us by a police barricade and a handful of vehicles. No loudspeakers, no chanting, no movement – nothing! Disappointed by the lack of action, we left for the Rathaus, where there was a bouncy castle.
Why the lack of action? According to Financial Times Deutschland, the train carrying 500 more neo-Nazis was three hours late. Hah! Cue witty joke about Mussolini making the trains run on time :D Later in the afternoon there were violent riots – not sure from whom, but FTD makes it sound like the left. On my way home I spotted two police officers on horseback – German Mounties, if you will – but none of the fires.