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Dortmund, Germany — The authorities also outlawed the AN’s local branch there although no arrests were made.
“We’ve all gotten better at recognising the relationship between criminal offences and far-right extremist ideologies and realising that there is an organisation behind the scenes that is calling the shots,” Wesseler said.
Wesseler said he had also increased police patrols in the area where the group rents its apartments.
There are signs the campaign may be working.
On Sept. 1, a date neo-Nazis mark to commemorate Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939, the only visible banners were those urging fascists to leave town.
Lamp posts were newly painted with a special anti-adhesive to deter far-right vandals from defacing them.
A message has been displayed on top of Dortmund’s landmark U-Tower - a 1920s-era skyscraper crowned with an illuminated letter “U” and giant TV screens.
“I, the tower, have always thought Nazis were uncool,” it read.
Hajo Funke, a professor of political science and far-right expert at Berlin’s Free University, cautioned against complacency, however.
“If the ban isn’t enforced properly then nothing will happen,” Funke said. “Then they’ll be just as dangerous as before.”