German Village Hoards Beer To Leave Neo-Nazi Festival Dry
Locals bought more than 200 crates of beer while police seized 4,400 litres, leaving neo-Nazis nothing to drink at the town's annual rock festival.
The German town of Ostritz, near the Polish border, is home to the Schild and Schwert Festival -- Shield and Sword in English -- which usually attracts 1,200 far-right activists annually.
This year, a court in the state of Dresden imposed a ban on the sale and possession of alcohol at the event in a bid to prevent violence.
While police confiscated thousands of litres of beer from white supremacists trying to smuggle it into the event, locals took things a step further.
Knowing that revellers would flock to supermarkets in search of a cold one, the residents cleared out every fridge and shelf in town -- roughly 200 crates worth.
Traditionally in Germany there are 20 bottles in a crate, that equates to about 4,000 bottles bought, or, if we bring the town's population of 2,400 into account -- that's more than one and a half bottles per person.
"The plan was devised a week in advance," activist George Salditt told Bild daily. "We wanted to dry the Nazis out. We thought, if an alcohol ban is coming, we'll empty the shelves at the Penny [supermarket]."
A local woman told ZDF television that the crowd wasn't welcome.
"For us it's important to send the message from Ostritz that there are people here who won't tolerate this, who say 'we have different values here, we're setting an example, which is not the image of a far-right concert, which dominates the media coverage," she said, according to the BBC.
Numbers for the three day-festival were halved this year with only 500-600 fans turning out, but with a number of other events being held in the town on the same weekend, including a Peace Festival commemorating the 100th anniversary of the local soccer team, police numbers were up.
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1,400 officers were deployed from right around Germany and it seems they kept the crowds under control.
"The bassist (33) of a right-wing band changed into a balaclava at around 10.30 pm during the performance in the rally," police tweeted. "This is a criminal offence".
"I am very impressed with how in such a small town ... the citizens stand up to make it clear that right-wing extremists are not wanted here," Saxony's state premier, Michael Kretschmer told German news agency DPA.