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German city declares "Nazi emergency"

A city in eastern Germany has declared a "Nazi emergency" to tackle the rise of the far-right. Dresden is the capital of Saxony, which is considered a stronghold of the far-right movement. 

"'Nazinotstand' means - similar to the climate emergency - that we have a serious problem. The open democratic society is threatened," local councilor Max Aschenbach, who tabled the motion, told BBC News.  

Dresden's city council approved a resolution Wednesday night to 39 votes to 29 to pass the motion that declared "anti-democratic, anti-pluralist, misanthropic and right-wing-extremist attitudes and actions, including violence in Dresden, are occurring with increasing frequency."

The motion was opposed by Germany's governing Christian Democrats (CDU), who said it was "primarily an intended provocation." 

"'State of emergency' means the collapse or a serious threat to public order," Jan Donhauser, chairman of the CDU City Council Group, told BBC News. "That is not given rudimentarily. Furthermore, the focus on 'right-wing extremism' does not do justice to what we need. We are the guardians of the liberal-democratic basic order and no violence, no matter from which extremist side it comes, is compatible with it."

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Supporters of the anti-Muslim Pegida movement march in their 187th weekly, Monday night gathering not far from the venue where German Chancellor Angela Merkel was speaking on July 15, 2019 in Dresden, Germany.  SEAN GALLUP-GETTY IMAGES / Getty Images

Aschenbach, who is a member of the left-leaning satirical political party Die Partei, said the city was not obliged to take any action following the adoption of his resolution, but that "theoretically, existing measures should be given a higher priority and future decisions should follow this."  

The anti-Islam and xenophobic movement PEGIDA, which stands for German for Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West, began in Dresden in 2014, according to Deutsche Walle. The group regularly holds rallies in the city. 

According to Deutsche Walle, Saxony is a stronghold for the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which came in second in state elections in September. 

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