Scientists and other employees at the Science Center for Social Research in Berlin are waiting to see if a nationwide petition drive they've initiated denouncing the recent wave of neo-Nazi violence in Germany will prod the country's lawmakers to crack down on those racist activities.

Staff members at the center, called Wissenschafts-zentrum Berlin fr Sozial- forschung (WZB)--a research institution studying economics, labor market development, and environmental protection policy--began composing the petition last September, following three days of neo-Nazi rioting in the East German town of Rostock.

Over the next three months, the institute sent fax and electronic mail transmissions to more than 500 scientific institutions, research universities, and political parties throughout Germany. More than half of WZB's 300 staffers and scientists participated in drafting the document. Though the petition's organizers say the politicians to this point are totally ignoring them, a large number of scientists and academicians have pledged their...

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