Europe

Lutherans condemn occupation of church by far-right group

An official from the Lutheran Church in Dortmund has sharply criticized far-right protesters' occupation of a downtown church next to a Christmas market in the western German city.

Superintendent Ulf Schlueter told the German news agency dpa on Saturday that it was "disrespectful to abuse the church for far-right propaganda."

A group of neo-Nazis occupied the Reinoldi Church in Dortmund on Friday night, putting up racist banners from its steeple and setting off firecrackers. Dpa reported that police eventually cleared the church and are investigating the incident.

Schlueter said the church's staff has for years taken a strong stand against far-right extremism and would continue to do so.

Dortmund has a significant far-right community.