>> Seeking out foreigners to blind with cigarettes, Manuel Bauer, who spent ten years as a Neo-Nazi, has a disturbing past. The former skinhead led two racist East German gangs, beating up foreigners and people with disabilities. Now, after a prison term, he claims he's reformed and says his former groups carried out violence on behalf of the far-right National Democratic Party.
I think the move to ban the NPD is a good thing because it means taxes would no longer be used to fund an anti-constitutional party. Germany's constitutional court is set to rule on whether to outlaw the NPD. The decision is due in the autumn. Reuters' Madeline Chambers in Berlin says it will be contentious.
>> Many people like Bauer argue that the NPD should be banned because it's anti-democratic. Banning it would mean that its public funding was cut off. It currently gets money because it has representation in one of the regional assemblies and in the European Parliament, and it would stop it from raising money and recruiting people at events like music festivals.
However, the court also has to weigh up whether, in fact, the NPD poses a danger to Germany and its democratic order. That might be more difficult to prove because the NPD is pretty small, and if anything, its numbers are declining.>> The backdrop to the case, rising far right attacks across Germany.
Last year saw over 1,400 violent acts carried out by right-wing supporters, a 42% rise in 2014, and on the streets it’s manifested itself in rallies by groups, such as Pegida. Germany's Nazi past means it has strict laws against hate crimes, but there's also tall hurdles for outlawing political groups.
If the NPD is banned, it will only be the third time since World War II.