Berlin court rules far-right posters can remain

AP , Monday 12 Sep 2011

A Berlin court rules that campaign posters with controversial and discriminatory slogans by the far-right National Democratic Party, are to remain on display as protected by the freedom of speech laws

Germany's far-right National Democratic party is using controversial slogans in an effort to attract votes for upcoming Berlin state elections.

One shows caricatures of Muslim immigrants on a flying carpet with the slogan "have a nice flight home." Another bears the slogan "step on the gas," with a picture of the party's leader on a motorcycle.

Berlin's Kreuzberg district had ordered the posters taken down, saying they violated German incitement laws.

But the Berlin state court ruled Wednesday that the posters were protected under freedom of speech laws. It noted that although the "step on the gas" poster "could well be intended to arouse associations with Nazi atrocities," it could also have other meanings.

A US group of Holocaust survivors expressed "horror and disbelief" at the ruling and called for the posters to be banned.

The party isn't expected to win any seats in the Sept. 18 vote.

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