On January 19, German political police raided the Berlin and Dresden offices of several anti-Nazi groups, including the Dresden Nazi-Free Alliance, No Pasaran, Red Stuff and the left-wing party Die Linke.
Thousands of posters, stickers and leaflets for an anti-Nazi protest on February 13 were confiscated and a number of computers seized.
The raids provoked immediate protest from Die Linke, the Greens, the Social Democratic Party, anti-globalisation group ATTAC and several trade unions.
The planned protest — organised by the Dresden Nazi-Free Alliance, a broad alliance of over 230 organisations and 800 high profile individuals — is for a peaceful blockade to prevent a fascist parade on February 13, the 65th anniversary of the WWII Allied fire-bombing of Dresden.
The date is a regular neo-Nazi rallying point, to commemorate what they call a "bombing holocaust". There have been repeated calls to have the Nazi commemorations banned.
Last year's fascist parade only went ahead due to massive police protection. The government has chosen to disrupt this year's counter-demonstration beforehand.
The raids came only two weeks after right-wing Bavarian interior minister Joachim Herrmann called on the government to spy on Die Linke, which won almost 12% in the September federal elections, and other "left-wing extremists".