German elections, D – 11: posters calling for “hanging the Greens” are authorized

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A judgment occupied a good part of the political news, Tuesday, September 14, in Germany. It was issued by the Administrative Court in Chemnitz (Saxony), which authorized the small neo-Nazi party Der Dritte Weg (The Third Way) to use election posters on which it is written in large letters: “Hang the Greens! “On one condition: that they are more than 100 meters away from the cupboards of the environmentalist party.

The affair erupted a week ago after the discovery of some of these posters in the streets of Zwickau (Saxony), a town of 90,000 inhabitants near the Czech border. The municipality had asked officials of the Der Dritte Weg party to withdraw them within three days, considering that there was a breach of public order. The neo-Nazi party seized the summary judge, who therefore ruled on Tuesday in his favor.

The court justified its decision in the name of the defense of freedom of opinion. It considers that the measure consisting in imposing “A spatial distance between the posters” of the two formations allows “Guarantee a detached perception” posters of the Greens and at the same time “Not to undermine the concern for communication” of the Der Dritte Weg party.

Zwickau Mayor Constance Arndt said on Tuesday afternoon that the city would appeal. “The call to hang the Greens remains fundamentally undemocratic and irresponsible”, indignant the elected without label.

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For his part, the national secretary of the Greens, Michael Kellner, announced that the party would “Take legal action against” by Der Dritte Weg. “Incentives to violence have no place in our country”, did he declare.

As observed Die zeit, which devoted a long article to the case, Tuesday evening, the central point which raises question in the judgment of the administrative court is the passage on the will of “Not to undermine the concern for communication” of the Der Dritte Weg party. “Obviously, the courts are right to set the bar very high in terms of the defense of freedom of expression, especially during an election period”, observes the weekly. “But what should also be taken into account is the context. In other words, the court refuses to ask the question of what Der Dritte Weg “cares to communicate”. ”

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