Hundreds of neo-Nazis facing arrest warrants are on the run in Germany, the government revealed Thursday. Out of 501 right-wing extremists, 108 face charges of "politically motivated crimes," the Interior Ministry said in response to a parliamentary question, as reported by DPA. Another 114 are sought on suspicion of violent crimes.
Germany sees regular protests by neo-Nazi groups, but the country has strict laws governing the glorification of the country's Nazi past.
The German government earlier announced steps to choke off state campaign financing for the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) after a failed court bid to outlaw the xenophobic fringe group. The initiative aims to deprive the NDP of taxpayers' money to which German political parties are generally entitled before September elections.
Handing government funds to the NPD amounted to "a direct state subsidy for far-right hate speech," Justice Minister Heiko Maas said.
Germany's highest court in January rejected a bid by parliament's upper house to ban the NPD, ruling that although it held a similar ideology to the Nazis, it was too small to endanger German democracy.
The NPD, with some 6,000 members, was founded in 1964 as a successor to the neo-fascist German Reich Party and rails against foreigners and campaigns with the slogan: "Germany for the Germans."
Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere earlier said his ministry had prepared changes to the constitution and to other laws that would have to be adopted by parliament with two-thirds majorities in both chambers.
He said the idea that a party hostile to the democratic order receives official funding "is a situation that is hard to take."German political parties receive state campaign finance funds if they have won at least 0.5 percent of the popular vote in the latest general or European elections or 1 percent in a vote in one of Germany's 16 states.
The NPD garnered just above 1 percent in Germany's last elections in 2013, insufficient for it to win representation in parliament. It has also lost ground to the right-wing populist and anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), which currently polls at around 11 percent.
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