The police in East Germany still don’t know what their job is in a liberal state

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

It’s a bit depressing to see Germany struggling with a neo-fascist movement, and the police unclear about what their role is:

Let’s first look at the police, who, just as they did in Lichtenhagen in 1992, stood by helplessly – and hopefully not in quiet acceptance – unable to prevent the worst excesses. Twice in just a few days, the Saxony police showed that they have no clear idea as to what, exactly, their job entails in a democracy. The first instance came when officers prevented a team of journalists from German public broadcaster ZDF from doing their jobs during an anti-Merkel march in Dresden. Then came Sunday and Monday in Chemnitz. If you cede the streets to the hooligans and the neo-Nazis, if you are unable to protect innocent bystanders from violent attacks, then you are abandoning the rule of law. If the Saxony interior minister and the chief of police aren’t able to do their jobs, then they have to go.

Saxony itself, meanwhile, must ask itself how this alliance between normal citizens and violent criminals came into being. It must explore what role was played by the meek approach to the AfD taken by state Governor Michael Kretschmer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). After all, this isn’t the first time that neo-Nazis in Saxony have been allowed to do what they want by acquiescent local politicians. Nor is it the first time that a mob has taken control of the streets of Saxony, as the examples of the xenophobic rampages in Heidenau in 2015 and Clausnitz in 2016 show. In many places, right-wing extremists are still seen as “our boys” and right-wing violence is treated as a trivial offense.

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