Germany raids over 200 suspected neo-Nazi premises

BERLIN Wed Mar 4, 2009 9:17am GMT

The back of the head of a far-right defendant with the word ''Skinhead'' tattooed on his scalp is pictured as he awaits the start of a trial in a courtroom in Dresden April 10, 2008. REUTERS/Matthias Hiekel/Pool

The back of the head of a far-right defendant with the word ''Skinhead'' tattooed on his scalp is pictured as he awaits the start of a trial in a courtroom in Dresden April 10, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/Matthias Hiekel/Pool

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German police have launched a nationwide search of more than 200 homes and businesses of people suspected of belonging to the country's extreme right, the Federal Crime Office (BKA) said Wednesday.

"The primary aim of the concerted action by crime fighting authorities is to seize and confiscate prohibited items like music in order to move effectively and extensively against the spread of right wing extremism," the BKA said in a statement.

More than 60 years after World War Two and the Nazi Holocaust, right-wing radicalism is still a problem in Germany, particularly in the former communist eastern part of the country where unemployment is nearly double the rate in the west.

The BKA said last year that neo-Nazis appeared to have shifted their tactics and stepped up violent attacks. Government figures show anti-Semitic crimes rose at the end of last year.

The BKA said the search began earlier Wednesday and was being carried out in all 16 federal states. A BKA spokeswoman could not say for now if any arrests had been made.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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