Ten thousand people mobilised in Dresden on February 18 to stop an annual march of European neo-Nazis.
A broad coalition of political parties, church groups, trade unions and other anti-fascist groups formed a united front campaign to stop the planned neo-Nazi march through peaceful, mass blockades.
Six days earlier, a group of more than 1000 neo-Nazis gathered in Dresden for a march supposedly to commemorate the innocent deaths caused by the 1945 bombing of Dresden by the Allied forces.
The anti-fascists accused the fascists of rewriting history. They said Dresden was a strategic hub for the Nazi regime for arms production, forced labour and anti-Semitic policies. The anti-fascists say focusing solely on Allied bombing insults victims of the Nazi regime.
On February 13, the neo-Nazis were met by 13,000 anti-fascist counter-protesters. They formed a human chain to block the neo-Nazis' planned march through the city centre.
By February 18, the neo-Nazis decided that they did not have enough strength to counter the mass mobilisation of anti-fascists and called off their march.
Anti-fascists have highlighted the dubious role of the Saxony authorities. In 2010 and last year, anti-fascist protesters were criminalised. Buildings were searched and personal details collected illegally.
Left parliamentarians, in particular from the socialist Die Linke, lost their parliamentary immunity for taking part in anti-Nazi blockades.
Legal cases are still running against people facing a range of charges, such as taking part in illegal rallies and forming illegal organisations.
The large coalition of anti-fascists has insisted: “Blockading Nazis is our right! Stop the repression of anti-fascists!”
It recently emerged that a fascist group had been responsible for a killing spree lasting over 10 years. A public debate is raging on the role of the security forces and their level of complicity.
The fight to stop the fascists marching has been won for now. But it is likely the neo-Nazis will orient to new areas and try to capitalise on the growing economic crisis.
The lessons from Dresden about the need to mobilise against neo-Nazis on the streets will prove valuable.