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Far-right German politician on trial accused of using banned Nazi slogans

A far-right German politician has gone on trial accused of using banned Nazi slogans at two rallies dating back to 2021.

Björn Höcke, leader of the regional branch of Alternative for Germany party (AfD) in the eastern state of Thuringia, is accused of ending a May 2021 election event in Merseburg by shouting the Socialist Nationalist slogan, “Everything for our homeland, everything for Saxony-Anhalt, everything for Germany,” according to the regional court of Halle.

Prosecutors allege that although he was aware the slogan is banned in Germany, and despite already facing criminal charges related to the first instance, Höcke went on to use it a second time at an AfD event in December 2023. In that incident he allegedly shouted to the crowd: “Everything for” and incited the audience to reply “Germany.”

Prosecutors also claim Höcke was aware of the phrase’s origins as the slogan for the Nazi paramilitary wing.

Höcke, a former history teacher, intends to run as the lead candidate for the AfD in the upcoming state elections in Thuringia in September.

Ahead of his trial he criticized Germany for “persecuting political opponents and suppressing free speech.” On social media platform X, Höcke said he was being charged for “the crime of using an alleged quote in which I expressed my patriotism ‘incorrectly.’” Höcke’s post was amplified by Elon Musk, the owner of X, who replied: “What did you say?”

Hans-Christoph Berndt, the head of the AfD in the Brandenburg region, has been branded a right-wing extremist by German intelligence services, which have the party under surveillance.

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