Merkel pays tribute to the victims of the German neo-Nazi group

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel He paid tribute on Monday to 10 people who were killed by a neo-Nazi group over a decade ago, amid concerns that extreme right-wing violent extremism is on the rise again in Germany.

During a visit to the city of Zwickau, in eastern Germany, Merkel participated in a ceremony dedicating 10 newly planted trees to the memory of those killed by the group between 2000 and 2007.

Last month, a young oak tree commemorating the first victim of the group, the flower seller Enver Simsek, was sawn in the same place. Simsek, like most victims of the NSU, was of Turkish origin.

We will do everything ... so that those things do not happen again, said Merkel about the murders of NSU, which the German authorities have attributed for years to disputes between migrant gangs to the apparent murder-suicide of two of the NSUs. Main members in November 2011 exposed the existence of the group.

The only known surviving member of the NSU was sentenced to life in prison last year.

While Merkel spoke next to the monument, a handful of nearby extreme right-wing protesters sang to leave.

The anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic sentiment has reappeared in Germany in recent years, accompanied by the emergence of the far-right Alternative party for Germany, whose members have minimized the country's Nazi past and the discovery of several extremist groups. allegedly determined to carry out NSU-style attacks.

In June, a regional politician from Merkel's party was shot dead at his home. An extreme right-wing extremist with a series of convictions for violent crimes against migrants was arrested for the murder.

Last month, a 27-year-old German man tried to attack in the eastern city of Halle. After unable to break the doors, he killed two passers-by, before being arrested. Before the attack, the suspect had published an online anti-Semitic rule.

The German authorities have promised to take strong measures against extreme right-wing extremism, including tightening the laws on weapons and intensifying the prosecution of hate online.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry said on Monday that authorities closely monitor threats, such as those issued by the self-styled Atomwaffen Division, which recently sent emails saying it planned to kill left-wing German lawmakers.

The neo-Nazi group, whose name means division of atomic weapons in German, was founded in the United States, but since then it has attracted sympathizers elsewhere, including in Germany.