Cologne bans New Year far-right demo, to use vehicle blocks

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BERLIN (AP) — Police in Cologne have banned a far-right demonstration on New Year's Eve as they work to prevent a repeat of last year's disorder and say they'll put obstacles in place to prevent anyone driving into crowds.

City authorities already announced plans to deploy more than 1,500 officers, over 10 times more than last year when police failed to prevent a string of robberies and sexual assaults blamed largely on foreign men.

Police chief Juergen Mathies said Wednesday he refused permission for a protest by the far-right National Democratic Party. He said it would have drawn large numbers of counter-demonstrators and endangered security.

Following the Dec. 19 Berlin truck attack, Mathies said police will deploy concrete blocks and vehicles as obstacles to protect some areas in the hours before New Year.

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