Abstract

Shortly before the Bundestag and state elections of 1998, the extreme right-wing NPD [Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands or National Democratic Party of Germany] organized demonstrations in several cities in Mecklenburg West-Pomerania. The party chose this state because it hoped to achieve an above-average result in the Landtag [state parliamentary] elections. Each of these demonstrations drew several hundred NPD supporters, in addition to organized neo-Nazis. On September 20, 1998, an NPD demonstration in Rostock attracted a crowd of about 3,000-4,000 people. At the same time, about 8,000-10,000 people gathered there for a "peace festival" organized as a counter-protest against the right. Several hundred autonomous leftists took a different approach and tried to flat out disrupt the NPD march. In the end, the NPD in Mecklenburg West-Pomerania garnered about one percent of the vote in the 1998 state elections. After an attempt to ban the NPD foundered before the Federal Constitutional Court – the case was thrown out in 2003 on procedural grounds – the party received a surprisingly high percentage of the vote (9.2 percent) in the 2004 Saxon state election. In 2006, the NPD managed to get into the Landtag in Mecklenburg West-Pomerania, with 7.3 percent of the vote.

This photo shows an NPD demonstration in Ribnitz-Damgarten (Mecklenburg West-Pomerania); demonstrators’ posters read “Employment for Germans first” and “We’re the real opposition.”