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'I should have used both hands': German minister defends giving neo-Nazi protesters the finger

Gabriel was accosted earlier this month by a group of masked protesters holding banners bearing the slogan “Traitor”.

Image: Markus Schreiber/PA

GERMANY’S VICE-CHANELLOR Sigmar Gabriel has defended giving a group of heckling neo-Nazi protesters the middle finger earlier this month.

Gabriel, who is the country’s economy minster, raised eyebrows after being accosted by a group of masked protesters holding banners bearing the slogan “Traitor”.

“Man, your father loved his country, and what have you done to it? You’re destroying it,” a protester could be heard saying in video footage of the incident, in a reference to Gabriel’s father, who was a Nazi.

The Social Democrat leader, who has publicly condemned his father as a “die-hard Nazi”, turned to face the protesters with a smile, before making the gesture.

In an interview for German television broadcast last night, when asked if he regretted the incident he replied: “I made only one mistake, I have not used both hands”.

He said those criticising his action should think about what they would do if faced with “young, aggressive, swearing and ready-for-violence Nazis”.

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- With reporting from AFP. 

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