June 14. 2024. 12:32

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Political violence in Germany on the rise

Offences against politicians have increased in the last year in Germany, highlighted by recent violent attacks against a couple of leading politicians on their campaign trail.

Germany has recently been rocked by a series of physical attacks on local and leading politicians – and the Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser (SPD/S&D), has now confirmed that these are not isolated incidents.

Some 3,691 offences against public and elected officials, as well as party representatives, were registered last year, according to an article by Faeser for Welt am Sonntag on Saturday, and 80 of which were violent.

“Those affected are threatened, their offices attacked, their homes besieged, their private property damaged or destroyed,” the minister wrote.

In comparison, 2022 listed 1,994 offences, including 67 violent crimes.

Faeser warned that the country is currently seeing an escalation of “disdain for politics and aggression” – a spiral must be stopped, she stated.

In recent weeks, the issue has become more visible as there have been a number of attacks on EU and regional election campaigners in Germany that escalated with a violent assault of Member of the European Parliament Matthias Ecke (SPD). A few days later, Franziska Giffey (SPD), former mayor of Berlin and now Berlin’s senator for economic affairs, was attacked and slightly injured, adding to similar attacks on politicians in previous weeks.

Giffey said in a recent interview that she had experienced a “kind of free-for-all culture. According to the motto: “Politicians are not normal people, you can do it with them”.”

Following the hospitalising attack on Ecke, Germany’s regional interior ministers met to discuss appropriate measures.

Besides ideas to introduce harsher legal consequences for attacks on elected officials, the main focus of Faeser will now be more consistent prosecution. In her opinion, not only the police with an increased presence but also an efficient justice system is essential to discourage such incidents.

“If people who are being threatened have the impression that a criminal complaint is useless and will not be pursued, then that is devastating,“ Faeser concluded.

The statistics on politically motivated crime for 2023 will officially be presented by Faeser on Tuesday.

Germany eyes harsher punishments in response to attacks on EU campaigners

After a string of assaults on EU election campaigners. German interior ministers vowed on Tuesday (7 May) to introduce harsher legal consequences for attacks on elected officials.

(Kjeld Neubert | Euractiv.de)

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