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3,000 Protest German Firebomb Deaths; Hunt for Killers Hits Snag

June 02, 1993| From Times Wire Services

SOLINGEN, Germany — About 3,000 protesters marched Tuesday through Solingen, where the firebomb killings of five Turkish nationals by suspected neo-Nazis has sparked riots, and police announced a setback in their hunt for the killers.

Although more than 1,200 police in full riot gear were braced for fresh violence after two successive nights of riots, police said that Tuesday's demonstration ended without incident.

The protesters, including Turkish militants and black-hooded German anarchists, marched though the town to show their anger over Saturday's murders of three Turkish girls and two Turkish women.

They carried banners reading "No Forgetting, No Forgiving" and a German woman told the rally: "What must happen next? How many children must die before all fascist organizations in Germany are banned?"

Police officials said Tuesday that they have abandoned a hunt for four skinheads wanted in the firebombing. Authorities, who had published composite pictures of the four suspects, said a teen-age suspect who was arrested Monday gave police wrong information.

The teen-ager has been charged with murder, attempted murder and arson.

The police announcement followed a second night of rioting here. Demonstrators smashed shop windows, looted stores and blockaded a highway to protest the firebombing. Speakers at rallies called for violence to be met with violence.

In Bonn, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government scrambled for ways to contain the violence and to limit damage to Germany's reputation.

The German newspaper Bild carried a front-page statement by Kohl in which he warned Germans against siding with neo-Nazis.

"Anyone who hides the Solingen murderers and other criminals of this sort himself becomes guilty," Kohl said.

In a move to placate Turks, a Turkish translation of Kohl's statement was printed also.

Turkish President Suleyman Demirel's response was measured. "This distressing incident shows that xenophobia, which I personally know you are fighting to stop, has reached dangerous levels," he told Kohl in a message.

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