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Neonazis’ Cologne protest erupts into violence

A NEONAZI and football hooligan-organised rally through Cologne erupted into widely predicted violence yesterday as marchers hurled bottles and fireworks at police.

Officers responded with water cannon, baton charges and pepper spray to the rioting thugs, who had organised the demonstration in the name of the Hooligans Against Salafists (Hogesa) coalition, which boasts of bringing together “sworn enemies from various football clubs” united by a hatred for Muslims.

Those marching chanted: “National socialism now” and performed nazi salutes, immediately provoking police intervention since nazi slogans and gestures are illegal in Germany. Police had earlier made it clear they would have a “low threshold” for intervention due to fears that the nazis would come into direct conflict with planned counter-demonstrations outside Cologne’s train station and cathedral.

Police said the 2,500-strong demo had been organised by Dominik Roeseler of the far-right Pro NRW party, although promotion for the event on social media did not name a ringleader.

They believe Hogesa, whose exact make-up is unclear but is believed to unite “17 football hooligan groups” with organised neonazism, is partly the work of veteran nazi and football hooligan Siegfried Borchardt, who goes by the nickname SS

Siggi and helped found the violent right-wing Borussenfront football club in the 1980s.

State police union chairman Arnold Plickert said Hogesa was a “new phenomenon” which could be extremely dangerous if “previously warring hooligans develop a common structure.”

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