Hundreds of neo-Nazis have 'gone underground' in Germany -- and experts are worried they're creating new right-wing terrorist groups

LONDON — There were 600 arrest warrants for neo-Nazis outstanding in Germany last month, Deutsche Welle reports.

Some 454 arrest warrants for were issued in 2016 alone for people who “have been deemed on account of relevant police information to belong to the category ‘crime motivated by the political right.'” Ninety-two of them are being sought for politically motivated crimes.

Those people have “gone underground” which, according to Matthias Quent, a researcher into right-wing extremism who spoke to DW, increases the risk of creating new right-wing extremist terrorist structures.

“The discourse is incredibly uninhibited,” he told DW. “If the perception is that the state is no longer capable of protecting its borders, or its people, from terrorism, there is an increase in the perceived legitimacy of forming one’s own organisations, of resorting to violence oneself, of arming oneself.”

German government: Far-right extremists have grown 8%

After years of decline, the number of people who are thought to be far-right extremists in Germany grew nearly 8% from 21,000 in 2014 to 22,600 in 2015, according to Interior Ministry data released in June last year.

In its annual report, the Interior Ministry added that the “intensity of right-wing extremist militancy” was observed in spring 2015 — and it has only got more pronounced since then, with in resurgence of threats against journalists and politicians.

This date coincides with the start of a mass arrival of asylum seekers in Germany. Attacks against refugee centres have grown and in October 2015, Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker — a supporter of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “welcome-policy” toward refugees — was stabbed in the neck by an anti-immigration protester.

During his trial, it emerged that the attacker, known as Frank S, had previously been active in far-right movements in Germany, and participated in a demonstration in honour of Adolf Hitler’s Deputy Führer, Rudolf Hess.

‘Exorbitant increase in right-wing violence’

The Interior Ministry report mentions an “exorbitant increase in right-wing extremist violence,” and highlights that the high number of refugees coming into the country encouraged a now wide-spread connectivity between right-wing extremists.

The increase is a Europe-wide phenomenon — and the movement is not just an underground one. Everywhere in the EU, far-right parties have seen a huge resurgence in support bringing it to levels not seen sine World War Two.

In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders — head of the Party for Freedom — was just convicted by a Dutch court for hate speech. He is expected to come very close to power in the next elections in March.

In France, Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right Front National, is set to easily make it to the second round of the French presidential elections in May. And in Germany the anti-immigrant party, Alternative für Deutschland, has made huge strides in the last regional elections and is currently polling at around 15 per cent.

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