Over three decades after the end of communism in the eastern bloc, the western German city of Gelsenkirchen unveiled a controversial new monument in honor of the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin on Saturday.
The unveiling took place in the midst of global protests over statues that honor those who held unfavorable views.
Germany's Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD), who spearheaded the effort to have the statue installed, said the monument dedicated to the Russian revolutionary figure is the first to be erected in what is former West Germany, according to Deutsche Welle.
"The time for monuments to racists, anti-Semites, fascists, anti-communists and other relics of the past has clearly passed," MLPD chairwoman Gabi Fechtner said.
"Lenin?was an ahead-of-his-time thinker of world-historical importance, an early fighter for freedom and democracy," she argued.
The unveiling of the statue, originally made in the former Czechoslovakia in 1957, was accompanied by music and speeches. Attendees were asked to wear face masks and maintain social distancing to protect against potential infection of the coronavirus.
But not all residents of Gelsenkirchen were pleased to hear about the new installation of the controversial figure.
"Lenin?stands for violence, repression, terrorism and horrific human suffering," representatives from mainstream parties in Gelsenkirchen-West said in a resolution passed in early March, in an effort to prevent the installation.
The council "will not tolerate such an anti-democratic symbol in its district," it added, urging "all legal means" be used to block its installation.
But the upper state court in Münster rejected the council's attempt to stop the installation, arguing that it would interfere with another historic building on the same site.