There was no overt display of neo-Nazi insignia by the silent, mostly male crowd lining the road leading to a cemetery for the funeral of Thomas Haller, the co-founder of a group called "HooNaRa" (Hooligans-Nazis-Racists).
But security forces were not taking any chances in the city rocked by far-right riots last August over the fatal stabbing of a German man allegedly by two asylum seekers -- an Iraqi and a Syrian.
The funeral was also taking place on a day when a trial opened against the 23-year-old Syrian accused in last year's killing.
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Haller had for years provided security for fourth-tier football club Chemnitzer FC.
Earlier this month, fans of the club had paid tribute to him, with the stadium's video screen showing his picture during a minute's silence.
The city of Chemnitz, about 20 kilometres from the Czech border, has long had an extremist subculture.
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In the 1990s the city was an early hideout for the National Socialist Underground, a militant neo-Nazi cell that was only uncovered in 2011 after it had murdered 10 people.
Last August, it made international headlines as neo-Nazis and far-right football hooligans went on the rampage through the city, attacking people of foreign appearance, after the stabbing of a 35-year-old German, Daniel Hillig.