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Germany's Vice Chancellor Gives Neo-Nazi Demonstrators The Finger

The incident emerged this week after a video was posted on Facebook.

Posted on August 17, 2016, at 7:19 a.m. ET


Sigmar Gabriel, Germanyโ€™s vice chancellor and leader of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), gave the middle finger to a group of neo-Nazi demonstrators in Lower Saxony last Friday.

The incident emerged on Tuesday after a video was shared among right-wing groups on Facebook, including by the youth wing of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD).

Gabriel was campaigning in the city of Salzgitter when he was approached by a small, but loud, group of neo-Nazi protesters. They insulted and cursed at him according to accounts in German media, and can be heard calling Gabriel a โ€œtraitor,โ€ and shouting, โ€œYour father loved his country. What are you doing destroying it?โ€

The SPD leader has on several occasions described his late father as a Nazi, and talked about how he cut all ties with him. In June, Gabriel compared the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to the Nazis. โ€œEverything that they are saying, Iโ€™ve already heard โ€” just to be clear โ€” from my own father, who was a Nazi to his last breath,โ€ he said at the time.

The SPD confirmed last Friday's incident took place, and said Gabriel had been accosted by a group of violent neo-Nazis on the margins of an election campaign event.