German police at the weekend shut down a far-right rock concert in a small eastern town after members in the crowd started chanting the illegal Nazi slogan "Sieg Heil." The concert, which took place in Ostritz in the state of Saxony on Saturday, featured two bands from "the right-wing scene" and had drawn an audience of "several hundred," Goerlitz police said in a statement.
Officers stationed outside intervened after hearing shouts of "Sieg Heil" (Hail Victory) coming from the venue. The gig was brought to an end and the building was emptied shortly after 1:00 am. Several witnesses also reported hearing the chants. Federal authorities have opened an investigation, Goerlitz police added.
Under German law, using Nazi-era slogans or publicly displaying swastikas and other Nazi symbols are illegal. The town of Ostritz, near the border with Poland, regularly hosts far-right concerts that are often controversial. Last April, hundreds of neo-Nazis gathered in the remote town for a festival timed to coincide with Hitler's birthday.
Concern has grown in Germany that the rise of the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party (AfD) in recent years has emboldened the far-right and the neo-Nazi scene.
German authorities are increasingly concerned over growing right-wing terrorism in the country. La
tely, far-right groups have drawn up several "enemy lists" containing names and addresses of more than 25,000 people, a parliamentary inquiry revealed in July. The Interior Ministry said the lists were found in various police investigations and operations against far-right groups in the last seven years. Since 2016, Germany has conducted an increasing number of nationwide raids targeting right-wing groups, including houses, apartments and other properties believed to be owned by members of such groups, targeting the so-called Reich citizens movement, Reichsbürgers.