By Janine Puhak
Published June 25, 2019
Law enforcement officials and citizens united to empty a German town’s supply of beer ahead of a music festival planned for this past weekend, over concerns that alcohol could increase the risk of violence among neo-Nazi attendees expected to arrive. With the support of a court-imposed alcohol ban, police successfully confiscated over 1,162 gallons of beer.
Around 600 people flocked to the Schild und Schwert (Shield and Sword) Festival in the town of Ostritz, Saxony, for the event that began on Friday, Newsweek reports. Locals, however, were prepared with a plan of their own.
Before the event, a Dresden court banned the sale and possession of alcohol for the festivalgoers over safety concerns. Police swiftly seized approximately 1,162 gallons of beer between Friday and Saturday, with locals pitching in to purchase over 200 crates of beer from Ostritz grocery stores.
"The plan was devised a week in advance. We wanted to dry the Nazis out,” local activist Georg Salditt said of the news, the BBC reports. “We thought, if an alcohol ban is coming, we'll empty the shelves at the [supermarket]."
According to the outlet, Ostritz “already has a reputation for far-right activism” — a position some residents are eager to separate themselves. One local woman stressed that neo-Nazis are unwelcome in their community.
"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,’” the resident told local media.
Roughly 1,400 police officers from various parts of Germany were sent to patrol the festival, BBC reports.
This year the Shield and Sword Festival drew a smaller crowd this year, compared to last year’s attendance of 1,200, according to the BBC.
Reps for the Saxony regional police reported that aside from a few minor incidents, the event went smoothly.
Saxony’s state Premier Michael Kretschmer applauded the pluck of the locals to protest the neo-Nazis with the beer buyout.
"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," Kretschmer said, per Newsweek.