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THE German government has banned the neonazi group Hammerskins Germany and raided homes of dozens of its members.
The group is an offshoot of the Hammerskins Nation, founded in the United States in 1988, according to the Interior Ministry.
It plays a prominent role in the right-wing extremist scene in Europe.
The ministry said that the group sees itself as the elite of the right-wing extremist skinhead scene, according to the ministry.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said: “The ban of Hammerskins Germany is a hard blow against organised right-wing extremism.”
She said the ban included the association’s regional chapters and its sub-organisation Crew 38.
“With this ban, we are putting an end to the inhumane activities of an internationally active neonazi association in Germany.
“This sends a clear signal against racism and anti-semitism,” she said.
In Germany, the group comprises about 130 members. During the early morning raids in 10 states, police searched the homes of 28 group members.
There are no reports of whether any members of the group were detained.
Ahead of the ban, the German federal and state governments co-operated intensively for more than a year, Ms Faeser said, adding that “we also worked closely with our US partners.”
Hammerskins Germany aims to consolidate its right-wing extremist world view, particularly through concerts, where it tries to appeal to non-members to radicalise them, the ministry said.
The ministry said: “The right-wing extremist orientation of the international networking group manifests itself in particular through the distribution of recordings of right-wing extremist and anti-semitic music, the organisation of right-wing extremist concerts and the sale of right-wing extremist merchandise.”
The ban of Hammerskins Germany is the 20th ban of a right-wing extremist association by the German Interior Ministry.
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