BERLIN, March 17 (UPI) -- The German government wants to pull undercover informants out of the National Democratic Party, a first step toward banning the far-right group.
A previous effort at a ban ended with a 2003 court decision that evidence gathered by the informants could not be used. The interior ministers of the 16 German states agreed recently to stop using infiltrators in the party, generally known by its German initials, NPD, Deutsche Welle reported.
Only two parties were banned in the post-World War II era in West Germany and none in Germany since reunification. The Socialist Reich Party, a successor to the National Socialist or Nazi Party, was banned in 1952 and the Communist Party in 1956.
Critics describe the NPD as a neo-Nazi organization. In 2006, NPD members in the state assembly in Saxony protested a decision to hold a moment of silence to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp but not to mark the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Dresden.
Pressure for a ban has also grown since a series of killings of nine immigrants and a police officer was blamed on a neo-Nazi gang. But investigators have not been able to prove a strong connection between the gang and the NPD.