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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Germany's Justice Minister: Shun Far-Right Extremism

BONN -- Germany's justice minister on Friday called on the nation to shun extremism as far-rightists bent on holding rallies in memory of Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess made a last-minute move to circumvent efforts to ban the gatherings. The far-right extremists, whose Germany-wide plans for the weekend have so far been thwarted by police, pledged to hijack an anti-far right demonstration being organized by the mayor of a small eastern German town.

Police officials acknowledged that Germany could not issue a total ban on all Hess rallies and said some neo-Nazi meetings would probably take place.

"Federal and state police are doing everything to stop the brown ghost marching through Germany," Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said in a statement. Brown is a color associated with the German Nazi movement.

A far-rightists' bid to sneak into an anti-Nazi rally planned for Saturday in Rudolstadt, a tourist spot of about 30,000 people in Thuringia state, was their latest attempt to outwit police with their usual hide-and-seek tactics.

The rally, called by mayor Hartmut Franz and local trade unionists to protest against far-right extremism, was the only demonstration Thuringia police had approved.

Thuringian police and Interior Ministry officials were meeting Franz on Friday and were expected to cancel the rally because of feared clashes between far-right extremists and left-wing anarchists. Hess became a symbolic figure for neo-Nazis after hanging himself in 1987 in Berlin's Spandau prison, where he was serving a life sentence handed down at the Nuremberg Trials.