A small town in Germany’s far east braced Friday for the arrival of hundreds of neo-Nazis planning to attend a music festival timed to coincide with Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
Police in Germany and neighboring Poland were checking people arriving in Ostritz for the ‘Shield and Sword festival.’
The two-day event is expected to attract up to 1,000 far-right extremists from Germany, the neighboring Czech Republic and Poland.
Authorities have been unable to stop the concert from happening because it is taking place on private property, but a court on Friday confirmed a ban on the consumption of alcohol during the event. Judges said the neo-Nazi bands would likely fire up the crowd and alcohol might make attendees more aggressive.
Civic groups are planning to protest the event at Ostritz, a town of some 2,300 inhabitants on the border with Poland.
The region has long been a hotbed of far-right extremism and the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany received almost 30 percent of the vote in Ostritz in last year’s national election.