German city of Dresden declares it has ‘Nazi emergency’

A city in eastern Germany has declared a “Nazi emergency” after allegedly experiencing a rise in anti-democratic and far-right extremist views and even violence.

Council members of the city of Dresden, the capital of Saxony, declared in a resolution that acknowledges that “right-wing extremist attitudes and actions … are occurring with increasing frequency.”

It also called on the city to help victims of far-right violence, protect minorities and strengthen democracy.

“'Nazinotstand’ means – similar to the climate emergency – that we have a serious problem. The open democratic society is threatened,” local councilor Max Aschenbach, whose left-leaning satirical party Die Partei sponsored the resolution, told the BBC. “The request was an attempt to change that. I also wanted to know what kind of people I’m sitting within the city council of Dresden.”

15 February 2019, Saxony, Dresden: Neo-Nazi marchers in Dresden meet counter-protesters Photo: Str./dpa 

15 February 2019, Saxony, Dresden: Neo-Nazi marchers in Dresden meet counter-protesters Photo: Str./dpa  (Picture Alliance via Getty)

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The resolution was approved 38 to 29, with Germany’s governing Christian Democrats (CDU) – which has Chancellor Angela Merkel at the helm – among those who rejected it, according to local media.

The party reportedly described the resolution as “pure political symbolism” and said that the strong wording was a “linguistic error,” German news agency DPA reported.

The resolution calls on the city and civil society organizations to strengthen democratic culture and to focus on “the causes and consequences of anti-Semitism, racism, and position of extreme right to restore trust in democratic institutions and the appreciation of diversity and respectful solidarity,” according to DW.

Right-wing extremists hold up a banner reading 'Alliierter Bombenholocaust' (lit. 'Allied Bombing Holocaust') during a so-called funeral march in Dresden, Germany, 11 February 2017. (Photo by Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Right-wing extremists hold up a banner reading 'Alliierter Bombenholocaust' (lit. 'Allied Bombing Holocaust') during a so-called funeral march in Dresden, Germany, 11 February 2017. (Photo by Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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Dresden has long been linked to growing far-right movements in Germany.

In the early 1990s, neo-Nazi groups began staging rallies in Dresden to remember what they called “the bombing Holocaust,” according to the BBC.

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The city is also home to the anti-migrant group PEGIDA and the far-right Alternative for Germany party, which received more than 17 percent of the vote in the city council this year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.