Waving black flags and carrying banners, thousands of neo-Nazis marched in Dresden on Sunday, marring the official 60th anniversary commemoration of one of the fiercest Allied bombing raids of &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2003/01/31/42856.html ' target=_blank>World War II. Later up to 50,000 residents, wearing white roses in a symbol of reconciliation, gathered in the city's historic heart to light candles in memory of all victims of war.
"We want to make clear that we in Dresden are for democracy and remembrance and don't want this event to be disturbed by others," said Saxony state premier Georg Milbradt, informs Reuters.
According to the Turkish Press, the commemorations this year have taken on particular meaning because a &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/29/26069.html' target=_blank>neo-Nazi political party, the National Democratic Party (NPD), recently won seats in the Saxony state parliament, of which Dresden is capital.
The NPD has been trying again to exploit the anniversary, but this year it has been able to do so from the official platform of the regional assembly.
The commemorations began with a peace run in memory of the way the virtually defenceless city, which was packed with refugees fleeing the Red Army's advance, was destroyed by as many as 1,200 Allied aircraft. &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/18/88/354/13804_Schroeder.html ' target=_blank>Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder warned Germans not to forget their Nazi past Sunday as far-right supporters rallied in Dresden on Sunday to protest a devastating Allied bombing in World War II that killed an estimated 35,000 residents 60 years ago.
Schroeder said the anniversary was an occasion for people everywhere to unite against the "inhumanity of war." But the rally and fears of street clashes cast a shadow over a day of remembrance and reflection on the U.S.-British air raids, which set off firestorms and destroyed the centuries-old city center.