East German town divided on how to fight extremism

The town of Zossen lies in the German state of Brandenburg, which surrounds Berlin in the eastern part of the country. Before German reunification in 1990, the town of 6,000 was part of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), or East Germany.

Tough times came to Zossen and the rest of the former East Germany when the country reunited with the West. High unemployment rates at the beginning of the 1990s, combined with the feeling that West Germans were looking down on their Eastern fellow citizens, led many to shift their general beliefs to the right side of the political map.

English Defence League filling vacuum left by mainstream politics, says report

Mainstream political parties must tackle far-right groups through doorstep "hearts and minds" campaigns that tackle anti-Muslim sentiments at local level, according to two reports on challenging extremists.

The rise of career politicians, and the fall of grassroots activists, has left a vacuum across Europe for populist anti-establishment groups, warns the paper Right Response, published by the international affairs thinktank Chatham House. These groups now tapped into voters' feeling of being "disenfranchised" by out-of-touch politicians.

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