Racism in Football – Football against Racism
The FARE Experience

By Kurt Wachter and Michael Fanizadeh
Anti-racism campaigners have been busy over the last couple of months. Concerns over racism, xenophobia and far-right activity in and around football stadiums have reached fever pitch. Even though the new football season, 2007-2008, has barely started in Europe, we have already witnessed a progression of serious incidences.

In Italy, the notorious fans of Lazio Rome taunted opposition players with racist chanting during their home game against Dinamo Bucharest. They have also racially abused and attacked Senegal's international star Dame N'Doye during a friendly with Panathinaikos. Newcastle United supporters directed Islamophobic chants at Middlesbrough forward and Egyptian superstar Mido, who faced insulting references of being a terrorist and taunts like "Mido, he's got a bomb, you know". In Hungary, former national coach Kalman Meszoly remarked during a television interview about African players with Hungarian clubs: "They have barely come down from the trees". When Croatia played Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo, Croatian fans formed a human U symbol representing the fascist Ustase movement responsible for mass killings of Serbs, Jews and the Roma during the Second World War. Other incidences have been reported from Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Russian Federation, Scotland, Serbia and Slovakia.

One might wonder whether the frequent reports have increased because of greater understanding of the problem by the media, fans and football governing bodies, or because of the rising tide of support for the far right. Scaremongering by mainstream politicians on immigration exacerbates the problems. The fact is that, over the last decade, awareness of the problems associated with racism and the exclusion of ethnic minorities have increased tremendously. Today, the idea of campaigning against racism in football has taken root in many European countries. Many professional football clubs, national associations and international federations, such as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), have spoken out against racism and taken firm disciplinary action against offenders.

In February 1999, when supporter groups, anti-racist non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and ethnic community organizations from 14 European countries came together in Vienna to establish the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network, the situation was rather different. Fans were not only confronted with racist abuse inside their stadiums on a weekly basis, but also faced a widespread neglect of the problem on the part of football associations and public institutions. The idea behind the establishment of FARE was to make sure that the problem was no longer swept under the carpet. By supporting and nurturing grass-roots groups and including the voices of ordinary fans of the game, FARE acts today as an umbrella organization for those challenging racism and discrimination throughout Europe. It works together with clubs, national associations, players unions and public institutions to combat racism and related forms of discrimination, such as homophobia and sexism. Currently, over 300 grass-root organizations in more than 37 European countries are linked to the FARE network. The Vienna Institute for Development and Cooperation (VIDC) acts as a central coordination office for the network.

Established with the help of the European Commission in 2001, FARE became a member of the UEFA Corporate Social Responsibility portfolio, which patners with the financial backing of the network's grass-roots projects and campaigns. As a result of this partnership, UEFA, Europe's football governing body, has taken a more proactive stance against racism. In 2002, it supported the FARE 10-Point Plan of Action. UEFA has also started a scheme to support anti-racism projects with its 53 national member associations.

One successful anti-racist campaign FARE has developed is the Action Week against Racism and Discrimination, which takes place annually in October. The campaign aims to boost public awareness of the problem of racism and racial discrimination and to create a united front in dealing with this malign influence on Europe's number one sport. FARE offers financial support for a range of grass-roots activities to address local problems in football clubs at the community level. Last season's Action Week saw a record number of more than 700 events in 37 countries in and around football grounds all over Europe. In Germany alone, 750,000 cards with the slogan "Show Racism the Red Card" have been distributed to fans. Europe's top stars also supported the campaign. All 32 teams of the UEFA Champions League participated in the "Unite Against Racism" campaign, reaching more than 600,000 fans directly at the matches and millions more via live broadcast on television.

Other transnational projects run by FARE include the Mondiali Antirazzisti"”an annual anti-racism World Cup for fans and minorities in Italy"”and a programme in Eastern Europe to counter the neo-Nazi presence in Poland, challenge racist nationalism and xenophobia in the Balkans and use football to tackle the exclusion of Roma in Slovakia. Even if the problems associated with racism seem to be a European phenomenon, it is in no way limited to the European game. Sports media increasingly report in cases of racist incidences in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Israel and Mexico. The world's governing football authority, FIFA, has been aware of this racism for some time, but recent events, especially in Europe, have made the need for concerted action more urgent. Recognizing its unique role in coordinating expertise from all corners of the globe, FIFA established an alliance with the FARE network in 2006. Since then, FARE has worked with FIFA at the World Cup 2006 in Germany, conducted a survey with all 207 FIFA member associations and launched a call for projects from grass-roots initiatives outside Europe. Currently, an international workshop on anti-discrimination is being organized. In 2006, FIFA introduced tough new punishments for racist abuse. The Association instructed all its member organizations to enforce the new measures, resulting in a new disciplinary code (article 58) for dealing with racist abuse at all levels of the game and valid for all registered 300,000 football clubs and all 38 million registered players.

FARE attempts not only to fight overt forms of abuse inside stadiums but also to tackle hidden or institutionalized forms of racism: the exclusion of ethnic minorities and migrants in different levels in the administration of football. Across Europe, ethnic minorities are underrepresented in stadiums, football administration and sometimes in professional football leagues. An example for open discrimination by football governing bodies is the limitation of the number of migrants in amateur football, common in Italy or Spain. In Austrian amateur football, the number of foreigners, including even citizens of the European Union, is limited to three per team. During its last conference at the French Football Federation in Paris, FARE discussed a more pervasive dimension of racism, embedded in the unequal football relations between Europe and Africa. These relations are a legacy of Europe's colonial past. It manifests itself in the talent drain of young Africans who are "exported" to Europe by unscrupulous agents and most often end up as illegal immigrants.

FARE believes that football has a universal appeal across all communities, the impact of which cannot be underestimated. It is important to work with victims of racism and those affected by social exclusion in many places, to aid their integration and address problems of social cohesion. Ethnic minorities are traditionally underrepresented in the game, except as players. It must be our goal to bring minorities closer to the game through their integration into all levels of football"”teams, stadiums, administration, coaching.

Evaluating the success so far of the anti-racism movement in football, one can say that initiatives like FARE have made racism in football visible throughout Europe. There is now a greater awareness of the so-called "silent majority" and of the media, which results in more media reports and disciplinary action. A major achievement of FARE is linking diverse fan clubs to migrant and ethnic organizations. In addition, football governing bodies have taken a more proactive stance on racism. FARE has also put homophobia on the agenda of European football. Thanks to the FARE network's concerted campaigning, change is becoming evident. However, problems still exist. Racial abuse and the exclusion of ethnic minorities and migrants, as well as discrimination, continue on and off the pitch. The future work of FARE with UEFA, FIFA and European Union institutions will not only lay emphasis on joint efforts to eradicate racially motivated abuse inside stadiums, but will also encourage clubs and associations to introduce policies and measures advancing diversity, to ensure equal representation of migrants and ethnic minorities at all levels of football"”not just on the field. The aim must be to have the same mix of different faces on the playing field represented in the boardrooms of clubs and football associations.
The narrator stated that Europe has not had anything like the Civil Rights Movement. That got me wondering... Why not? European countries participated in slave trade and/or colonization and would likely have a significant nonwhite population in their midst.

Wonder what they call the riots in France?
The narrator stated that Europe has not had anything like the Civil Rights Movement. That got me wondering... Why not? European countries participated in slave trade and/or colonization and would likely have a significant nonwhite population in their midst.

Wonder what they call the riots in France?

Europe is no country but consists of different countries with different cultures, histories, languages etc. European countries have some issues in common, but not all.
Riots in France don't effect other European countries. The minority population in France is different from Britain or Germany etc.
And what does the narrator consider a civil rights movement? How does he think that this should happen on an entire continent?

After WWII Germany had a left-wing movement with left-wing terrorism (RAF), which influenced Germany for example. In Spain is the ETA to form an independent Basque state etc.
Turks in Germany Call for More Government Support

Germany's Turkish community called on the government to change its integration policy and to pay more attention to the needs of the country's 1.7 million Turks. It suggested a job quota as a step in the right direction.

A five-point proposal released Friday, Feb. 29, in Berlin called for 10 percent of public jobs to go to migrants as well as the introduction of Turkish lessons and a course called "intercultural life" in schools.

The aim was for Turks to enjoy the same rights and participation as others in society, said Kenan Kolat, chairman of the Association of Turkish Communities in Germany.

Kolat also said that immigrants to Germany should receive the right to vote in municipal elections and retain their original citizenship if they decide to become naturalized in Germany. Germany currently does not recognize dual-citizenship.

Turks make up the largest minority in Germany. Statistics from 2006 show 1.7 million residents of Germany are Turkish nationals. Including those acquiring German nationality by birth or naturalization, the Turkish community totals 2.4 million in a population of 82 million.

Fires leave Turkish community concerned
Kolat said a recent spate of 17 fires in 24 days in housing complexes used by Turks, including one arson attack, had caused a great deal of unrest among the Turkish community. Only in a few cases were the fires racially motivated, he said, but nonetheless Turks were living in fear and needed Germans' solidarity.

"In many cases these are not attacks, but because the fires occurred in a series, a discussion naturally started in the Turkish population," he said. "And we have the fear that these fires could incite others -- including far-right radicals -- to other attacks."

His comments came nearly four weeks after a blaze in the south-western city of Ludwigshafen claimed the lives of nine Turkish immigrants.

Though the case of the fire remains unclear, initial reports that the blaze was started deliberately were shown by investigators on Thursday to be inaccurate.

Kenan said his organization would cooperate with Germany's trade unions in drafting a code of ethics that would require politicians to refrain from creating an anti-migrant sentiment.

Earlier this year, the state premier in Hesse, Roland Koch, caused outrage by highlighting crime committed by young foreigners when campaigning for re-election.
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
European Racism

~WOW! That's like a time warp of some sort, reading the video comments....and the video itself. Only, it's present-day....1 minute ago, 4 minutes ago, 10 hours ago, a year ago. The racist comments are nothing new, but the argument itself, the level of anger, the open chants and banners at the football events! WOW! In the U.S., that openess would be completely "backwards" and "backwoods". But, in Europe, it's apparent that they never progressed. It's amazing how that could be possible. It TOTALLY speaks to what The Civil Rights Movement has done for THIS country.

HATEFUL FANS? 17 That HAS to be about JEALOUSLY. I'm sure they are so torn between a love for the sport and a hatred for all things black. They love the sport so much, but can't stand for the MVP's to be black. Such inner turmoil. Roll Eyes~
I don't know what it is going to take to make people of African descent ALL OVER THE WORLD to see that the cycle of racist hatred against Black people is about to come full circle - then what are we going to do. We are still too dependent on those who hate us because we continually chose to be divided and conquered all across the globe rather than stand together united for the good of our race in general, which would make a strong enough barrier against the racism that is continually being used to destroy us as a race on this planet.
Laws alone will not eliminate racism

maltastar.com team Thu, 20 March 2008

60 years after the promulgation of the Universal Declaration of human rights, in 2008 millions of people around the world still face racism as part of their everyday life, and Malta is no exception.

On 21 March, the International Day for the Elimination of Racism, the European Network Against Racism (ENAR) takes the opportunity to mark efforts done over the years in the fight against racism.

Indeed, a lot has been done on a legislative and practical level to combat racism and discrimination on the basis of race and ethnic origin. Malta is no exception to this progress, and whilst racism still exists in Malta, as groups vulnerable to racism face frequent hurdles a lot has been done in terms of legal provisions to combat racism. This is not to say that racism has been eliminated, or that enough has been done. Laws alone will not eliminate racism and more effort needs to be made for their effective implementation.

Racism has a distinctly European dynamic. Despite the fact that the European Union has for many years focused on preventing discrimination on the grounds of nationality and sex, it only began to take the fight against racism seriously relatively recently. Europe has a responsibility both to the people living within its borders, as well as internationally to take a leading role in promoting fundamental rights and a Europe free from racism.

The Race Equality Directive gives protection against discrimination in employment and access to a range of goods and services, including social protection, health, social security and education. It puts forward a number of important definitions including direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Other significant aspects of the Directive are that it allows for positive action measures, the shift of the burden of proof and the establishment of equality bodies. It also obliges member states to encourage dialogue with civil society organizations which have a legitimate interest in contributing to the fight against discrimination on grounds of racial and ethnic origin.

Article 29 of the Treaty on the European Union also includes a reference to preventing and combating racism in the field of security and justice. On 20 April 2007, the Council of EU Justice Ministers reached a political agreement on a Framework Decision on combating racism and xenophobia. In addition, the European Union has competence in other policy areas that either directly or indirectly impact on the fight against racism, including social inclusion, migration and asylum, and education.

Adopted in 2000, the European Charter of Fundamental Rights essentially summarises rights previously recognised in a range of sources into one comprehensive document, increasing their visibility and accessibility. In its treatment of the right to non-discrimination, the Charter is progressive in its scope and language, as it prohibits ˜any discrimination on any grounds such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation' (Article 21). Although the Charter is not yet legally binding, it has had a significant influence on policy development and judicial decisions at the European level.

In 1997 the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC) was established. It was replaced by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in March 2007. The latter agency is built on the EUMC. The objective of the Agency is to provide the EU institutions and member states with assistance and expertise relating to fundamental rights in order to support them when they take measures to fully respect fundamental rights. FRA's founding Regulation establishes that the Agency's Multi-annual Framework must always include the fight against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance.

The European Union has played a key role in the development of a common anti-discrimination agenda and has put in place sophisticated anti-discrimination and social inclusion policies. The EU Equality Directives have greatly advanced the fight against discrimination in Europe. However racism and discrimination continue to be persistently experienced by ethnic and religious minorities across the European Union; in employment, education, health, housing, access to goods and services, as well as participation in cultural and civic life. It is also essential that the Equality Directives are properly transposed and implemented in all EU member states.

Another major challenge is the social and economic inclusion of ethnic and religious minorities. These minorities are amongst the groups most vulnerable to poverty and social exclusion. Exclusion from employment, health, housing and education continue to undermine the everyday experiences of millions of ethnic minority people across Europe. Europe continues to experience problems of hate crimes and violence perpetrated against religious and ethnic minorities. The manifestations of racial violence are difficult to quantify as official data collection on racist violence in many EU countries is non-existent or requires further development.

Migration and integration of third country nationals is now the subject of an important debate across the European Union. Most EU member states are experiencing migratory phenomena and are confronted with integration challenges. Across Europe many migrants are socially excluded and subject to various forms of discrimination with regard to access to rights, employment, education, and social services. Many of the policy approaches to date have recognized that anti-racism and the fight against discrimination are important elements of an integration strategy, but it is now essential to recognize that anti-discrimination is both a modus operandi of, and a pre-requisite for, successful integration.

Besides being a signatory to the European Charter of fundamental rights, and the European Convention of human rights, Malta has also listed anti-discrimination in its constitution. It has also transposed the Race Equality directive and set up a Race Equality Body when the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality was granted competence on issues of race in 2007. Moreover, amendments to the criminal code in 2007 made racial motivation an aggravating circumstance to a number of crimes against the person.

Combating racism however, entails more than merely paying lip service to directives. It requires a strategic and coherent approach based on a commitment to inclusion by design, not as an add-on or afterthought and based on policies that promote interaction, equality of opportunity, understanding and respect.

Anyone requiring any further information should visit our website on www.enar-eu.org/malta or e-mail on enar.mlt@gmail.com
Originally posted by negrospiritual:
The narrator stated that Europe has not had anything like the Civil Rights Movement. That got me wondering... Why not?

Because in the U.K. for example the African population only comprises 2% of the total population.

They come from many different locations such as the Caribbean or Africa and trying to get a consensus has been difficult.

In addition, they have only been in the U.K. in large part since the 1940's. That was when their major migration occured according to some of the people (Africans) I have conversed with.
talking about movements

'68 Movement Brought Lasting Changes to German Society

Forty years after the assassination attempt on the leader of the 1968 student movement, Rudi Dutschke, Germany is looking back on a time when young people demanded societal change -- and went on the streets to get it.

Rebellion rolled through the streets of Germany in 1968 as students and other protestors set out to turn German society upside down through a strategy of "continual revolt." They were enraged that former Nazis held powerful positions in society, incensed over legal reforms they deemed undemocratic and angry they didn't have more of a say in running their universities.

"It was a revolutionary period that aimed to create a better world," Wolfgang Bittner, a former lawyer and now writer in Cologne, told DW-WORLD.DE. The 66-year-old said he was "politicized" during that time as a university student.

"We students felt the leaden weight of antiquated, bourgeois German society -- the complacency of it," he said.
One of the spearheads of the student movement that formed as a reaction to that sentiment was Rudi Dutschke -- an eloquent and charismatic leader and head of the Socialist Students Union. To thousands, Dutschke became a beacon for change.

He was shot in West Berlin on April 11, 1968, by Josef Bachmann, a laborer and sometimes burglar with alleged right-wing sympathies. Dutschke barely survived the bullets to his brain, and suffered health problems for the rest of his life, eventually dying as a result of his injuries 11 years later.

Students at the time blamed conservative media for stoking hatred against Dutschke. They resented the Bild tabloid's smear campaign against Dutschke and the 68ers, as those of the movement were called, believing it played a role in convincing Bachmann to attempt murder.

Brought in the new

Günter Wallraff, 65, a journalist and filmmaker known nationwide for his crusades against corporate injustice, said the 1968 movement brought about changes that many people now take for granted.

"The double standards for men and women in society were exposed then, greater rights and freedom for women and children were created, more power to students for democratic representation, sexual liberalization -- the 1968 generation prompted all of that," he said.
"New life was breathed into society at the time," he said, pointing to dramatic shifts in literature, music and design as well.

But many students wanted more and had set their sights beyond Germany's borders. Besides being anti-authoritarian, they were also largely anti-American. They opposed the US war in Vietnam and chanted the name of Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh as they battled baton-wielding police during protests on Berlin streets.

Revolt against Nazi past

The year 1968 saw university campuses in several countries transformed into battlegrounds for social change. In Paris, students were joined by labor unions; people in Poland and Czechoslovakia demonstrated against repressive governments.
Germans, however, had their own particular demons to battle.

The students, and other left-wing protestors, opposed an older generation that accepted Kurt Georg Kiesinger, a former member of the Nazi Party, as chancellor.

They rejected the notion of a state led by President Heinrich Luebke, who held the office from 1959 to 1969. He had worked with architect Albert Speer during the Nazi regime and was suspected of having designed concentration camps during World War II.

"A generation of criminals was ruling society after the war and no one talked about what they had done. Discussing their crimes was not even a part of our school lessons," said Wallraff.

Bittner agreed: "We saw that something dramatic had to happen."

An earlier death
The student uprisings at the universities had begun even before the assassination attempt on Dutschke.

Nine months earlier, in June 1967, student Benno Ohnesorg was shot in the back of the head and killed by a plainclothes policeman during demonstrations in Berlin protesting a visit by the Shah of Iran.

That shooting outraged tens of thousands of students and hardened opposition against the grand coalition government of conservative Christian Democrat-led parties and center-left Social Democrats.

The protestors were deeply disappointed by what they saw as the Social Democrats' betrayal of socialism. They also rejected the state of emergency law reforms of 1968, which granted the cabinet the power to get laws passed, despite rejection by parliament, during a national crisis -- a move the students considered non-democratic.

Disapproval by German public
The larger German society did not see the student rebels -- including Dutschke -- and other protestors as romantic revolutionaries fighting for the greater good. They were first considered a nuisance by many and, later, a danger.

During the 1950s, Germany had experienced the Wirtschaftswunder, an economic boom that allowed it to bounce back from World War II. Many Germans were happy to simply have a job, a car and enough money for a European vacation.

The tense atmosphere and violence that erupted following the assassination of Ohnesorg and the attempted one on Dutschke also gave rise to the political terrorism of the Red Army Fraction (RAF) in the late 1960s and early '70s, which prompted panic and distrust throughout Germany.

Though most members of the 1968 movement rejected terrorism, the distinction between the splinter group RAF and the original 68ers was unclear to many.

A new 68 generation?
The 1968 movement prompted shifts in many parts of society, and 40 years later, Wallraff said a new movement could be on the horizon.

"All the signs are there," said Wallraff. "So many societal standards are being done away with, workers have to hide the fact they are in unions ... changes will have to happen -- just look at the growth of right-extremism in eastern Germany."

The growing gap between rich and poor in Germany, soaring inflation rates and decreasing health and pension benefits may likewise be contributing to a general feeling that the average citizen has been left behind despite strong economic growth.

The emergence of the new Left party and its growing popularity is yet another indication that the country may be poised on the brink of change.

"A new social movement in Germany -- one that has learned from the mistakes of the past and is non-dogmatic and non-partisan -- is long overdue," Wallraff said.
Originally posted by sunnubian:
I don't know what it is going to take to make people of African descent ALL OVER THE WORLD to see that the cycle of racist hatred against Black people is about to come full circle - then what are we going to do. We are still too dependent on those who hate us because we continually chose to be divided and conquered all across the globe rather than stand together united for the good of our race in general, which would make a strong enough barrier against the racism that is continually being used to destroy us as a race on this planet.

Yet some blacks make excuses for those who hate us when blatant racism is boldly practiced in our own neighborhoods because it goes against their political and social philosophy. Ideologues will sell us (blacks) out no matter the limit of racism practiced against us. For some, the welfare of Black people takes a back seat to their brand of ideology. For some ideologues, somehow white racism against blacks is worse than outrageous, violent and deadly Latin racism against blacks because some ideologues think Latins and Blacks have a common goal of defeating white supremacy. But ignore the fact that Latins yearn and aspire to white supremacy and practice a form of supremacy based on race and class in their origin countries that make blacks outsiders and untouchables in their own countries.

I submit it is these kinds of black people who divide us based on ideology when we are indeed attacked by other minority groups who hate and despise black people.
Regional Football Battles against Neo-Nazi Influence

By Ronny Blaschke

Hardly a weekend goes by in Germany without some sort of racist incident on the football pitch or in the stands. A new program in Germany aims to combat neo-Nazi influence among soccer fans.

Sometimes, words simply aren't enough. Last month, the multicultural Berlin football club Türkiyemspor was in Rathenow, west of the capital for a regional league match. The atmosphere was tense, and became even worse once the opening whistle blew. Almost immediately, one of the Turkish players got in the face of a fan who had insulted him. "It almost turned ugly," says Mehmet Matur. "I jumped in between them and was able to calm the situation down."

Matur, 47, isn't a player. Rather, he is the so-called integration officer for the Berlin Football Association. His primary duty is to lead the fight against racism on Berlin football pitches. Normally, he relies on his voice, but sometimes, like last month, there is no choice but to get physical. "That is the last resort," he says.

The problem of racism on German soccer fields is one that has gotten worse and worse in recent years. There have been numerous cases of fans chanting ape noises at black players. Mass punch ups involving right-wing extremists after second and third league games have become more common. There was even a case last summer of fans firing off a torrent of anti-Semitic abuse at two teams of 14-year-olds.

Attacks of Foreigners

Politicians and football officials have been discussing the problem for months, and already, a number of initiatives have been taken. The German Football Association (DFB) has appointed full-time security and fan representatives and has set up a large working group concerned with preventing violence. There is a new registration system for racist incidents, a country-wide fan group to look into incidents, and an initiative against homophobia.

Now, though, German football is beginning an effort to combat racism and violence in regional leagues as well. Racist insults and violent attacks on foreigners have become all-too-common on pitches across the country. A training program in the eastern German town of Halle over the weekend was the first step toward solving the problem.

"We have to do something to combat this problem," says Matur. "This training program is extremely important."

Referees, coaches, club officials and fans attended five forums addressing problems from identifying right-extremist symbols to dealing with racist and homophobic insults on the pitch and in the stands. Called "Making Clubs Strong," the seminar was organized by the fan initiative KOS and the League for Democracy and Tolerance.

"A lot of clubs have become sensitized to the problems, but they nonetheless feel overwhelmed," says Gerd Wagner from the project "Stay on the Ball," (am Ball bleiben), a group aimed at combating racism in football.

Bastions of Neo-Nazi Sentiment

Helmut Spahn, in charge of security for DFB, likewise had high hopes for the weekend event. "This is a very important step towards making the topic more public and transparent," he said.

The problem is one that has long plagued soccer in Germany. Though not as visible in German stadiums as it is in Italy and Spain, where racist chants have become almost a weekly event, the problem has merely been displaced. Now, many of the incidents take place in train stations or on the streets prior to and after the matches. Many fan clubs, particularly in eastern Germany, have become bastions of neo-Nazi sentiment.

The development is not an accidental one. Combating creeping right-wing extremism takes time and money, resources that have not always been available -- and neo-Nazis have been quick to exploit the gap. As early as the 1980s, neo-Nazi leader Michael Kühnen built up a system to infiltrate the football fan scene.

It's a strategy still used by the neo-Nazi party NPD and other right-wing groups today. It is often easier to find socially disaffected youth in the football scene -- exactly those who tend to be drawn to the right -- than elsewhere. Indeed, many neo-Nazi groups actually sponsor local and regional football teams, primarily in Germany's east. In Hildburghausen in the state of Thuringia, and in Rathenow in Brandenburg, NPD-members have founded recreation clubs. In Lübeck, the regional football team VfB enjoys the support of an NPD-friendly fan club.

Is '88' Taboo?

How soccer clubs can resist such infiltration was an important topic this weekend in Halle. Though the neo-Nazis appear less menacing without Third Reich flags and combat boots, they often work with codes and symbols. The number 18, for example, stands for "Adolf Hitler," and 88 for "Heil Hitler," based on the position of the letters in the alphabet. Neo-Nazis are also geared up with the token marks of the alternative left: black hoodies and peaked caps, for example, are worn by extreme right-wingers. A picture of Che Guevara qualifies as a symbol for the national fight for liberation. A seminar entitled "Is the Jersey Number 88 Taboo?" aimed at helping coaches and referees identify such symbols.

Even security guards at many of the matches aren't clean. Clubs often have to hire private security services. One police officer who asked not to be named noted, "guards in the east are often recruited from the red-light and bouncer scenes. They provoke more often than they protect." The Berlin club BFC Dynamo, for example, hired security personnel from a notorious boxing gym.

"We have to develop effective structures to regulate the problem," says Spahn. "People have to learn to recognize the danger signals and to deal with them themselves." After all, there are tens of thousands of games played each weekend. Outside observers can't be sent to all of them.
Cologne, Germany - Rightists who converged on the German city of Cologne to protest against a planned mosque scuffled with opponents Friday and were prohibited by police from marching into immigrant neighbourhoods. Police have called in reinforcements, fearing riots on Saturday against the "Anti-Islamization Conference."

The far-right rally plans have upset the Islamic world. The government of Iran appealed to Germany to prohibit the demonstration, but Berlin says it has no powers to do this.

The German Interior Ministry criticized the rally.

"Such a gathering of populists and extremists harms the co- existence that the city and Muslim citizens have striven for," said an Interior Ministry spokeswoman. She said the integration of Muslims was "a central task."

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Thomas Steg added that Berlin policies favoured "inter-cultural dialogue."

A city group, Pro Cologne, which won 5 per cent of votes at the last city-council elections, has invited 1,000 to 1,500 rightists from all over Europe to join it Saturday at a protest against building a grand mosque.

Hundreds of people sympathetic to the mosque plan demonstrated Friday at the empty site, which belongs to Ditib, an organization funded by Ankara to build mosques for Turkish-speaking Muslims.

In low-level violence Friday, reporters saw rightists chase a lone man across a main road and shove him.

Far-left protesters shoved and punched a far-right official and pelted a river cruise boat with stones after the rightists hired it as a venue for a news conference.

Police commanders accused Pro Cologne of endangering public safety by failing to disclose the group's planned movements and prohibited the rightists' planned "tour" on Friday of multi-ethnic neighbourhoods as a threat to the peace.

Eight leftists were detained Friday for violence.

Pro Cologne has invited rightists from Belgium, France and Austria to the Saturday demonstration.

The mayor of Cologne, Fritz Schramma, said on Deutschlandfunk public radio, "We don't want their conference and along with a great majority of Cologne people we'll be obstructing them."

Trade unions and mainstream parties forecast 40,000 will attend a counter-demonstration on Saturday.

The mosque, close to a soaring telecommunications tower in a district on the edge of town, is to have a dome 37 metres high and two minarets stretching up 55 metres.
German police Saturday canceled an anti-Islam congress organized by a far-right group on safety grounds in Cologne after the venue was blocked by opponents. Radical leftists also fought riot police on the streets.

A far-right group Pro-Cologne had called the rally to oppose a decision by local authorities in Cologne to allow the construction of a mosque with a high dome and minarets.

It invited nationalist groups from around Europe to join the "Stop Islam" rally to fight what it called the "Islamisation and immigration invasion" of Germany and Europe.

But only 50 supporters of the anti-immigrant group Pro Cologne managed to reach a city square for the scheduled rally against plans to construct a grand mosque in the German city.

An anti-right sit-down by 5,000 mostly peaceful demonstrators had blocked every entrance to the square. At the same time, police were fighting pitched battles with extreme leftists who tried to occupy the square.

The "Stop Islam" rally did start briefly, with more reporters than rightists attending but then city police declared the event illegal on public-safety grounds.
"The rally has been cancelled," a police spokesman said. The announcement sparked cheers from many protesters.

"The safety of our Cologne people has priority," said a police spokesman after ugly clashes between far-leftists and riot police.

The leftists, who were bent on occupying a city square set aside for the rightists to use, assaulted police and tried to snatch their pistols. Riot police advanced against them, swinging batons.

At Heumarkt, the square set aside for the rightists, the far left attacked roadblocks at several places and scuffled with riot police, but were repulsed.

"We had to crack down hard to avoid something worse happening," a police spokesman said. Reporters saw two men being detained. A police officer was hurt in the face when a firecracker was thrown at him.

Expecting trouble, riot police kept water-cannon trucks that can knock a man to the ground at 30 meters at the ready.

A police spokesman said the leftists were no longer attacking in small groups but in large formations.

Television images showed that only about 50 rightists managed to pass the blockade and enter the city square, where "no mosque" banners were hanging.

Rally inflames passions in Muslim nations
About a kilometer away, several thousand peaceful demonstrators listened as Cologne's mayor Fritz Schramma stood up outside the city's great cathedral to denounce the far-right rally.

City and national German authorities detest the rightists, but say they must allow them the right of free speech.

Schramma described those who bent on holding the far-right rally as "racists in bourgeois dress" and "the moldy clique of Euro-Fascism," adding: "I say, there is the door. Go home!"

The planned anti-mosque demonstration had not only inflamed passions in Germany, but in Muslim nations. Iran demanded that Germany prohibit it. But German police and lawyers said it could not be banned purely because of the opinions to be expressed.

The mayhem also hit rail links. A signal box on the edge of town was set on fire in the early morning by persons unknown, forcing the closure of a main line for several hours and the diversion of 12 national express trains.

The line was re-opened after hasty repairs.

Rightist group formed to oppose "Islamification" of Cologne

Pro Cologne, a local group which won 5 per cent of votes at the last city-council elections, said Saturday it was outraged by the decision to cancel the congress.

Its secretary, Markus Wiener, said, "It's typical of the Cologne police leadership that they can't enforce freedom of assembly and that they cave in to street terrorism."

Wiener said his group had had 1,000 supporters trying to attend the rally.

A city councillor for the group said he would challenge the ban in court.

"We'll repeat the event later," Manfred Rouhs told WDR television.

Police had banned Pro Cologne from marching Friday evening to multi-ethnic neighborhoods, saying that riot police would not be able to keep order.

There was no sign in the city of prominent far-rightists from abroad who had been invited, such as Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of the National Front in France.

"A victory for democracy"

Cologne Mayor Schramma, who has personally backed the mosque project, welcomed the rally ban.

"It's a victory for the city of Cologne and a victory by the democratic forces in this city," he told Dpa news agency.

Armin Laschet, minister for minorities in North Rhine-Westphalia state, went further, telling the Tagesspiegel newspaper it was the first time an entire German city "stood up to protect its Muslims."

The German Interior Ministry spoke out Friday against the rally, saying the planned gathering of "populists and extremists harms the co-existence that the city and Muslim citizens have striven for."

The mosque, close to a soaring telecommunications tower in a district on the edge of town, is to have a dome 37 meters high and two minarets stretching up 55 meters. It will serve Turkish-speakers whose current mosque is too small for the congregations.

Ditib, an Ankara-funded organization that builds mosques all over Germany, says the current mosque at its national headquarters in Cologne is too small for congregations.
TWIN attacks blamed on the Camorra mafia that left six Africans and an Italian dead last week has highlighted the "hell" that immigrants say they face in this small city wracked by crime and poor living conditions.
Packed into decrepit housing such as the so-called American Palace, where US soldiers serving with Nato and their families once lived, Castel Volturno's 7,000 immigrants face high unemployment, and many fear for their lives.
At least two of the African immigrants killed in the September 18 carnage lived along with around 200 others in the cramped and rundown building in this city of 25,000 on southern Italy's most polluted shore near Naples.
"We are scared," said Christopher, 22, a resident from Ghana. "They don't hesitate to shoot us down like animals here."
The Camorra mafia's grip on the area has only made it more difficult to improve conditions in a city where immigrants account for more than a quarter of the population, local officials say.
Last week's brutal show of force blamed on the Camorra was initially believed linked to a drugs dispute, but relatives and associates of the six African victims said they had nothing to do with drug trafficking.
Police are also investigating whether the owners of a tailor's shop where the three Ghanaians, two Liberians and a Togolese were killed had refused to pay extortion money to the Camorra.
The Italian owner of a recreation hall was killed in a separate attack within minutes in the nearby town of Baia Verde.
Authorities arrested a suspect on Monday believed to be close to the Casalesi mafia clan, considered the Camorra's most dangerous and powerful.
Italy's government also announced earlier this week that it will send around 500 soldiers to the Naples region for three months to help police fight the Camorra.
On Wednesday, Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the Naples-area mafia had "declared civil war".
However, whether the deployment will lead to an improvement in the lives of Castel Volturno's immigrants – the majority of whom are African – remains unclear.
"Some of the immigrants, mostly Nigerians, are involved in drug trafficking and prostitution, and maintain links with the Camorra," said Fabio Basile, who heads a charity here. "But most of them don't know what the Camorra is. As proof, they first believed that the killings were another racist act, another humiliation inflicted on them by white people."
Poor living conditions for immigrants, unemployment and the mafia made Castel Volturno "one of the worst areas in Europe", he said.
Another resident said he felt he was in "hell" and described long hours of work for little pay.
"At five in the morning, we take a bus to go to Giugliano about 15km away. We wait for Italians to come and offer us work there," said Joseph, a 32-year-old from the Ivory Coast. "Whether it's out in the field or at a building, we are paid 20 to 25 euros ($38) for 10 to 12 hours of work."
Immigration is high in the area, Basile said, in part because it is easier to live in Castel Volturno illegally than in Rome or Milan, where the government has tighter control.
Mayor Francesco Nuzzo concedes Castel Volturno is "difficult to control".
"There is a counterbalance to the state – the Camorra, which is extremely powerful and which wants to destabilise society," he said.
He called the government's decision to reinforce security a "good thing", but he warned that real change would require more.
"That won't be enough to defeat the Camorra in an area with massive unemployment among young people," he said. – AFP
Beauty queen Lady Michele Renouf backs Holocaust denier

FORMER beauty queen and Sydney socialite Lady Michele Renouf is the secret force behind a campaign to free an Australian teacher facing jail in Germany for being a Holocaust denier.

Gerald Frederick Toben was arrested at his seat on a plane at Heathrow Airport two weeks ago by British police on a request from German authorities.

He is charged with inciting racism and xenophobia through posting on the internet alleged anti-Semitic and or revisionist views, denying there was a mass murder of Jews during World War II.

He was to represent himself in court for an extradition hearing to send him to Germany from Britain, where he was in transit enroute to Dubai, but Lady Renouf has stepped in and assembled a legal team to not only get him out of British detention but challenge the validity of European warrants that can see people arrested in one country at the behest of another.

Lady Renouf, briefly married to millionaire financier Sir Frank "The Bank" Renouf, said it was a matter of principal her friend Dr Toben got the best help and the Germans not be allowed to curtail freedom of speech.

She said she was not a revisionist and something "bad" did happen to the Jews during the war, but on principal she supported people like Dr Toben and renowned Holocaust denier David Irving for the sake of freedom of expression.

Revisionism, she said, was not an ideology but a historical method. The 61-year-old former model and Miss Newcastle 1968 said people might not like what Dr Toben stood for but it was his and others' right to freely express themselves.

"My interest is in making sure we don't have laws that we say we don't accept and yet we allow to come in to the back door," she said yesterday.

Dr Toben's solicitor Kevin Lowry-Mullins said his client was in good cheer and health and was stoic in the face of potentially being extradited and serving up to five years in a German prison.
'Haider is our Lady Di'

As the leaders of Europe's far-right parties gather for today's state funeral of Austria's most
In their hundreds they stand in line, waiting to pay tribute to their hero. Girls with iPods, skinheads in leather jackets, elderly women with shopping trollies and tanned athletic types in Prada sunglasses shuffle silently forward.

"We wanted the kids to feel the enormity of the occasion. After all, he is our Lady Di and this is our 9/11," says Anton Krem, 45, who is here to pay his last respects to Jörg Haider, the Austrian rightwing populist politician who died in a drunken, high-speed car crash a week ago and whose coffin sits on a pedestal in the Landhaus, seat of Carinthia's regional parliament, the southern province where he was governor.

An after-work crowd of about 300 makes its way through an avenue of huge wreaths. Everyone from the Chamber of Carinthian Chemists to the regional tourist board has sent a display. Klagenfurt, the state capital, is busy preparing itself for today's ceremony, the most emotional state funeral since that of the last Austrian empress, Zita von Bourbon-Parma, in 1989.

Amid a sea of red candles one teenager has written: "To a great man of the nation who fought for his land. Our hero, our fighter, our sunshine." Another note reads: "Our king of hearts". Slipped in between are pictures of Haider, an orange sweater - the colour of his breakaway Alliance for the Future of Austria party (BZO) - draped over his shoulders, glass of beer in hand; another shows the maverick fascist bungee jumping off a bridge.

Behind the scenes, functionaries and volunteers have been working around the clock sending invitations. Austria's political elite are expected to attend tomorrow. But the 50,000 mourners are also expected to include Belgian nationalist Filip Dewinter, French extremist Jean-Marie le Pen, Alessandra Mussolini, the granddaughter of the Italian wartime fascist leader, Umberto Bossi from Italy's Northern League, Swiss industrialist Christoph Blocher, and a handful of Waffen-SS veterans, whom Haider once described as "men of character". Younger far-right figures have also hinted they will turn up, though Austrian intelligence is on alert to turn away groups of skinheads or neo-fascists, to stop the event turning into a rally.

With state broadcaster ORF planning live coverage, President Heinz Fischer, who will give the main speech, and other politicians have asked for assurances that they will not appear in the same frames as anyone from the far right. "They realise it could get very embarrassing," says Hans Rauscher, veteran writer for Der Standard newspaper.

The fear gripping the elite shows the extent to which Haider managed to impose himself on Austria's political scene, becoming a figurehead for an array of far-right European groups. Particularly at such a sensitive economic moment, when parallels with 1929 and the great depression are drawn every day, the fear is that the extreme right may seek to exploit the symbolic power of such a gathering.

"The possibilities for a rise of the far right in the light of the financial and economic crisis are there," warns Anton Pelinka, professor of politics at the Central European University in Budapest and author of The Haider Phenomenon.

In fact the extreme right is already in the ascendant in several European countries. In Italy the Northern League is enjoying its place in Silvio Berlusconi's ruling coalition. Blocher's Swiss People's party is the biggest political force in the country, Belgium's Vlaams Belang maintains its strength in Flanders, while in Denmark Pia Kjærsgaard's anti-immigrant Danish People's party is the third largest in the parliament. Racism has risen in Europe in recent years, with polls showing widespread antisemitism and anti-Muslim sentiment.

But the far right does not seem to be finding it any easier to work together. "In the European parliament there's a strong incentive to do this - if you establish a party group you get funds and more opportunities," Pelinka says. "But the far-right parties have contradicting nationalistic narratives and this makes it very difficult to form one group."

"Denmark and the Netherlands suffered under the Nazis so their far-right groups would never consider joining forces with far-right groups from Austria and Germany," says Richard Brem, editor in chief of a Vienna-based online youth culture magazine. The same goes for the far-right movements of Poland and the Czech Republic. Like Bossi and Blocher, the Netherlands' late Pim Fortuyn might well have seen the well-dressed, perma-tanned Haider as a visual model for his own brand of populist politics, but in fact they had little in common beyond their anti-immigrant rhetoric. Fortuyn, who was openly gay, saw himself as a libertarian whose rights were being curtailed by the immigrant Muslim population. Haider's ethos grew out of an old-time fascism, his country's Nazi past and a psychological need to defend the Nazi generation - including his parents - who he thought were unjustly treated after the war.

"Official Austrian state doctrine after the war was that the Allies liberated Austria from Nazi Germany in 1945 and that Austria had been a victim of the Nazis in 1938," says Pelinka. "This overlooks the fact that the percentage of Austrians who participated in the Nazi regime was the same as in Germany. In contrast, Germany was forced to confront its past directly and did so. Austria was not and didn't."

In Germany, Haider - famous for his outbursts lauding SS veterans, his description of Austria as an "ideological miscarriage", his labelling of Nazi death camps as "punishment camps" and admiration for the Third Reich's "sensible employment policies" - could never have achieved the same success.

Haider himself was frustrated in his attempts to form a pan-European far-right club, though he was successful at least in his intention of provoking European leaders after they slapped sanctions on Austria following the electoral success of his Freedom party (FPO) in 2000.

Nonetheless he is credited with having injected new life into far-right politics. "He was one of the first in Europe to grasp that it's not about issues or a rational discourse, but about emotion," says Brem. "He understood that politics was about marketing and you need to be marketing savvy to succeed."

"What Haider did was to bring Austria's SS and Nazi history out of the past and put it in the present and because he was such a charismatic politician he got away with it," says Rauscher. "But his lasting legacy is the way that he poisoned the political atmosphere in Austria in the process."

Throughout Carinthia there is hardly a person who says Haider has not shaken their hand, or bought them a schnapps. Others talk of receiving €100 handouts from him, a campaign which earned him the nickname "Robin Hood", or speak of the time he lowered petrol prices and introduced free kindergartens.

In the Pumpe pub on Benediktiner Platz in Klagenfurt, drinkers sit around whispering about how Haider died. The figure "142" is repeated often. That is the speed (in kilometres an hour) at which he was driving when he crashed his VW Phaeton on Saturday night. The news has by now filtered down that he was drunk at the wheel.

"Some say he was criminal because he was drunk, but that's an insult," says Christa, a 17-year-old who was among the country's new young voters (the voting age is 16), who gave her support to Haider's BZO in elections two weeks ago. "He did so much for everyone."

Does she think he belittled national socialism? "Well, I don't really know what that is," she replies. "If you mean, was he right to lock up foreigners, yes, because people with a criminal tendency have no place here."

The "Lady Di" comparison is repeated often, along with references to James Dean, Austrian rock star Falco and even the Dalai Lama ("for his ability to reach out to everyone", says one man). Many voice their suspicion that Haider was in fact murdered by Mossad, despite the scientific tests that show he was several times over the alcohol limit.

The television newsreader who announced his death ended her report with the message: "Dear Carinthians, I wish you as much strength as you need to get through this," while Haider's right-hand man Stefan Petzner, the new leader of the BZO, said the "sun has fallen from the sky".

"It's not, it's still there," says Carinthian writer Egyd Gstättner, who observed Haider for two decades. He talks in disgust of a "führer cult" surrounding Haider. On Monday morning, like every Carinthian schoolchild, his 10-year-old daughter was told by her religious affairs teacher to fill up a page of her exercise book with a black cross and Haider's name.

One of Haider's last acts was the establishment of what he called a sonderlager - a special camp for old, sick, and criminal asylum seekers, set on an isolated, 1,200-metre-high alpine pasture. He told his voters he planned to "concentrate" Chechens there, enabling the "final goal" of their extradition to be carried out more smoothly. In other countries politicians would be forced to resign over such issues. According to Florian Klenk, deputy editor of news magazine Falter, "In Austria the typical reaction was, "Well, that's just Haider. And actually he's right."

Last month he won 10% of the vote in national elections, following his victory in Carinthian elections last March.

Commentators suggest it is too early to predict the effect Haider's death may have on far-right politics in Austria. Heinz-Christian Strache, his former ally and more hardline successor as leader of the FPO, has not ruled out a merger with Haider's BZO. That would give the combined far-right parties the same strength they had when Austria was ostracised for that very reason eight years ago.

Today's gathering might well set alarm bells ringing that Europe's extreme right is gathering steam at a time of economic turmoil. "Strache, Bossi and Le Pen will do everything to exploit the crisis," says Pelinka. "And they will have some success. But at the moment there is no indication that they can and will be able to get the amount of power Mussolini, Hitler and co enjoyed in the interwar period."

But the real test, Pelinka says, will come if the economic situation worsens and unemployment rises. He will be watching to see the extent to which countries such as Germany - whose high unemployment in the 1930s led to the rise of Hitler - have really changed. "The question is whether we can assume that in the decades since 1945 countries like Austria, Germany and Italy have been able to create a different, more stable democratic political culture."

Malta: Africans' way station to the EU

VALLETTA, MALTA - Shaqaale Hassan handed $1,000 to people traffickers, confident it would secure his passage from Libya to Italy, and the European Union's sprawling labor market.

Instead, after three days adrift in the Mediterranean Sea, the small speed boat carrying the 23-year-old Somali and two dozen other illegal migrants was intercepted by a European Union patrol and the passengers were taken to a detention center on the nearby island of Malta – the EU's smallest member state.

Mr. Hassan says that he fled Mogadishu, Somalia, after a close friend was killed in cross-fire between militias. But after five months on Malta he says his prospects are limited. "The Maltese people don't want us. There's no work here and when we find a job we are paid nothing," he says. "In Somalia you live or you die, ... Here I am not dying, but I am not alive. I want to go to Italy."

He is among nearly 2,500 Africans – the majority from Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan – to arrive this year. At least 550 other migrants fleeing war and poverty are reported to have died during the journey, although the actual toll is likely to be much higher.

By virtue of its geography, this 112-square-mile rock is now on the front line of the EU's battle to stem illegal immigration. Since 2002, the Maltese government has processed 11,500 refugees and economic migrants.

In a bid to shut the Mediterranean door to Europe, the EU's 27 leaders have pledged to tighten border controls and fill gaps in the labor market with workers from their nations. Yet the boats keep coming, challenging the dangerous seas and stepped-up EU sea and air patrols.

Each crossing season, roughly between March and September, brings a ratcheting-up of racial tension as the patriotic, ethnically homogenous, and highly politicized Maltese clash with the migrants. Anti-immigrant graffiti is now common on the sandstone walls of Valletta, Malta's capital.

"There's an ugly xenophobia developing here and the government carries some responsibility for that," says Neil Falzon, the local representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "It keeps trying to sell the idea that Malta can't cope. The truth is that it has to. The government should be leading the process of integrating them with jobs, education, and homes instead of taking part in this kind of national hysteria."

Malta is the only EU nation to automatically detain all illegal migrants for up to 18 months – there are currently 2,000 in the ramshackle camps. It is a policy widely condemned as inhumane and potentially in violation of the Geneva Convention.

Hassan was released in September and granted humanitarian protection – a status given to all refugees from Somalia. He now works six hours a day on a building site earning €3.50 an hour ($4.90) and shares a bunk bed in an overcrowded, squalid center established to house newcomers with nowhere else to go.

Existing European rules – known as the Dublin II Convention – say Hassan cannot move from the country where he claimed asylum. The center-right Nationalist Party government is frantically lobbying the European Commission to revise the law; it says the island's resources have been stretched to breaking point by the sudden migrant influx.

"When the first boat came we thought we would have 100 people to look after so we built a temporary detention center for them. Within a week, it [held] 200 people and it hasn't stopped since," explains Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, Malta's minister for justice and home affairs. "These people don't want to come here, they want to go to Italy, Germany, or Holland where they have family or contacts. We're a small island and this problem is bigger than us."

So far, the EU has responded by setting up a €5 million ($7 million) fund to induce asylum seekers to return home with a "resettlement grant." The US has also offered entry to 200 of Malta's Somalis, and pledged to take up to 400 more next year. While this is welcome, Dr. Bonnici says the measures fall short of what is needed.

Local activists are urging Malta's government to soften its attitude to migrants. They estimate that 98 percent of young migrants do not receive education. Around half of the 4,000 migrants who have been released from detention live in two cramped, unsanitary centers. The migrants take the manual-labor jobs shunned by an increasingly well educated Maltese population. But the concept of a settled African population is still anathema to many Maltese.

"The result will be a social catastrophe," says Father Joseph Cassar of the Jesuit Refugee Service, which does advocacy work for migrants. "In five years I fear we'll see ghettoes, social unrest, and a rise of far-right politics.

"These people are running from the extremes of human behavior – torture, rape, and violence – and deep poverty. It cannot be right to treat them with contempt in Europe."
Organizers of the alliance that formed as a counterweight to the neo-Nazi march through the eastern German city said around 11,000 people participated at several demonstrations. Police put that number at just under 10,000.
They were protesting a "mourning march" held by members of the extreme-right in the capital of the state of Saxony. For a decade, anti-immigrant and skinhead groups have marked the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden by Allied air raids, which took place Feb. 13-15, 1945, at the end of World War Two.

Many of the groups marching were affiliated with the National Democratic Party (NPD), a far-right political party which entered the Saxony state assembly in 2004.

This year’s event was organized by a group known as the Junge Landsmannschaft Ostdeutschland, supported by the NPD. The far-right marchers totaled around 6,000, according to police, about a thousand more than gathered in 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the bombing.

Many in the far-right scene call the widespread destruction in Dresden a "Holocaust," and attempt to paint Germany as a victim of the war. The firebombing killed an estimated 25,000 people, mostly civilians, and wiped out the city center.

Eyewitnesses on Saturday said several hundred leftists who objected to the far-right procession tried to attack neo-Nazi participants, hurling bottles at the police cordon and damaging parked cars. Witnesses said several people were injured, although police have not confirmed this.

Clashes between left-wing and far-right groups are common on the anniversary. This year, police forces numbered around 4,000, some brought in from neighboring states.


Separately, thousands of pacifists took part in processions to both denounce the neo-Nazi threat and remember the city's dead.

On Saturday morning, peace services were held in churches and a synagogue. Afterwards, thousands of Dresden residents went to a central square, the site where numerous victims of the bombing were burned to death.

Also participating in the commemorations were politicians from Dresden and Saxony as well as representatives from the United States and Great Britain.

Many mainstream Germans say that the huge loss of life must be remembered as a warning against war.

On Friday, the bell of the Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, rang out in their memory. The church, one of the symbols of Dresden, collapsed two days after the raids. It remained a pile of rubble for decades until US and British donors helped pay to rebuild it in a gesture of reconciliation. It reopened in 2006.
VIENNA -- An American teacher who was attacked by Austrian police who mistook him for a drug dealer said Monday he believes he was singled out because he was black and that he is taking legal action against the police for assault.

Mike Brennan, 34, from Jacksonville, Fla., said two undercover police officers "came out of nowhere" at a Vienna subway station and attacked him without identifying themselves.

Vienna police acknowledged the mix-up Monday and expressed their regret. In a statement, they acknowledged the officers had used "physical force." Karl Mahrer, a senior Vienna police official, said on Austrian television an investigation was under way to determine why it had been necessary to use force.

Brennan is recovering in a hospital from bruises, swelling and sprains to his back, neck and hand.

Brennan's lawyer Alexander Hofmann said he had initiated legal action against police for abuse of power and assault and battery, in effect asking prosecutors to investigate the matter and bring charges. Hofmann said he would sue for damages on behalf of his client at a later stage.

Asked in an interview with The Associated Press whether he believed he was attacked because of his race, Brennan said he saw "hatred" in the eyes of one of his attackers.

"I heard about the situation before here, I heard a lot about it, and I've never really seen it" before, he said.

Brennan teaches physical education and English as a Second Language at the Vienna International School, a private school that caters to the Austrian capital's expatriate community. He has lived in the Austrian capital for about four years.

He said he would have been more badly hurt if his girlfriend had not intervened.

"I don't want this to happen to anyone else - I hope justice is served," said Brennan, perched on the edge of his hospital bed holding crutches.

"I was bent over ... I had very excruciating pain," he said.

Hofmann said that when police realized Brennan was not the man they were looking for, they left the scene, leaving him hurt.

Police said the suspected drug dealer they were after was in Brennan's subway car and had an "almost identical" physical description. He got off at the same stop Brennan did, attempted to flee and was arrested a short time later, police said.
On Wednesday February 11th at the Subway station Spittelau in Vienna, Austria, American teacher and Football player Mike Brennan was brutally attacked by undercover drug police under the ridiculous suspicion that he was a drug dealer.

For friends and colleagues of Mike the situation surrounding the attack is unbelievable. The Austrian udercover police jumped Mike as he exited the Subway car and beat him up, according to the Austrian Newspaper Kurier (Kurier.at). They only produced identity verifying themselves as police 10 minutes after the attack.

The group has been online since Monday Feb. 16 and is growing healthily. We need you to contact African American Representatives and Congressman Roland Burris. I will include a few emails I have found in the contacts section.

Americans - please send an email to the US Embassy stating your outrage:


Bitte sendet ein Email an die Bundespolizeidirektion Wien und teilt Eure Empörung mit:


Originally posted by listener:
VIENNA -- An American teacher who was attacked by Austrian police who mistook him for a drug dealer said Monday he believes he was singled out because he was black and that he is taking legal action against the police for assault.

Vienna police acknowledged the mix-up Monday and expressed their regret.
Eek Eek

Look, I don't want to dampen the outrage about this story, but when this kind of thing happens in the US, the police NEVER "acknowledge their mix-up" or "express regret." And they probably would have killed him -- a beating wouldn't even make the news!

Some world we live in, when I can see the bright side to a story like this. sck
I think this "regret" doesn't mean too much. The situation perhaps differs insofar that I think there is more pressure from outside, also the EU, on the other hand that doesn't mean that police will go to prison, neither in Germany nor Austria. For Germany there aren't statistics but human rights organizations say that everybody out of a "Randgruppe", 'outsiders' of society [those without a political voice/societal mainstream support] are more likely to become a victim of police brutality, last year december or so they shot a (white) young man, nonetheless 'migrants', PoC are most likely to become a victim.
If you are interested, there is an information site by Black people about Austria/Europe, most written in German. www.afrikanet.info

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