Neo-Nazis were met with a sober welcome last week when they arrived in the town of Ostritz in the German state of Saxony to attend the right-wing Shield and Sword (SS) rock music festival. A court had earlier ruled that no alcohol could be served or consumed at the event, citing concerns of potential violence. Local police were on hand at the festival gates over the weekend to ensure that this ban was upheld.
According to German media, the people of Ostritz took this drying out effort even further. Locals reportedly banded together to buy all the beer in town to ensure the neo-Nazis would have none to drink all weekend.
“The plan was devised a week in advance. We wanted to dry the Nazis out,” Georg Salditt, a local activist, told Bild newspaper. “We thought, if an alcohol ban is coming, we’ll empty the shelves at the [local supermarket].”
Deutsche Welle said the town’s residents bought more than 100 crates of beer in anticipation of the neo-Nazis’ arrival. Salditt told Bild that the number was closer to 200.
“The Nazis weren’t happy about it,” local activist Markus Kremser told public broadcaster Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk.
A total of 2,000 residents also reportedly gathered for anti-racist demonstrations in Ostritz over the weekend.
Michael Kretschmer, Saxony’s state premier, lauded the locals’ efforts to push back against the neo-Nazis.
“I am very impressed with how in such a small town … the citizens stand up to make it clear that right-wing extremists are not wanted here,” Kretschmer told Deutsche Presse Agentur (DPA).
Ostritz, which is located near the Polish border, has a reputation for far-right activism, BBC reported.
In the lead-up to the SS festival, a court in Saxony’s capital Dresden banned all alcohol from the event to, it said, preempt potential violence.
DPA said local police confiscated more than 4,200 liters of beer at the SS event on Friday.
The news agency added that police officers outnumbered festival-goers at the event. An estimated 1,400 officers were reportedly deployed to the festival, which was attended by just 500 to 600 people.
Ostritz’s mayor Marion Prange told Deutsche Welle that her city doesn’t want the SS event “to shape the reputation of our city.”
“There are people here in Ostritz who do not tolerate the event, who stand for different values and who try to be role models,” Prange said.
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