Attacks on elected officials in Germany | The former mayor of Berlin is also the victim of an attack

(Berlin) The former mayor of Berlin, Franziska Giffey, a figure in Olaf Scholz’s social-democratic party, was attacked and slightly injured, an act which adds to a series of attacks against elected officials in Germany at the The elections are approaching.

The increase in violence, insults and threats against political personnel has become a subject of major concern in the country.

The latest incident took place Tuesday afternoon, Berlin police announced early Wednesday.

The suspect approached Franziska Giffey while she was in a library in the south of the capital, in the Rudow district, and hit her on the head and neck with a heavy bag before fleeing .

Mme Giffey, who is currently economy minister for the city-state of Berlin, went “briefly to hospital to be treated for head pain”, police said.

The alleged attacker has been identified, said a spokesperson for the prosecution, promising to say more during the day.

“The first fear is over, I can say that I am fine,” reacted Mme Giffey on his X account.

“Nevertheless, I am concerned and distressed by the intensification of a ‘wild culture’ to which people who engage politically in our country are increasingly exposed,” she added.

“We live in a free and democratic country, in which everyone can be free to express their opinions”, but “there is a clear limit – and that is violence against people”, she insisted.

Tougher penalties

The city’s current mayor, conservative Kai Wegner, condemned the attack, saying anyone who attacks politicians is “attacking our democracy” and pledging to consider “penalties tougher for attacks on politicians.”

The day before, the interior ministers of the Länder had already agreed to study toughening the law against this type of aggression, with federal minister Nancy Faeser recommending giving “a very clear stop signal” to the attackers.

Several political leaders have been threatened or attacked recently in Germany in the context of a tense electoral campaign before the European vote on June 9 and several regional elections in September.

The most serious case at this stage concerns an MEP from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, who was seriously injured last week by four people while putting up posters in the Saxony city of Dresden, in former communist GDR.

Matthias Ecke, 41, required surgery for facial injuries. The attack was denounced by Mr. Scholz as a threat to democracy.

Four suspects, aged 17 to 18, are the subject of the investigation into this violence.

According to German media, all four have links to a far-right group known as “Elblandrevolte”. This small group would be close to the youth organization of the neo-Nazi NPD party, which has renamed itself “Die Heimat” (Homeland).

Hitler salute

Dresden has been distinguished by several attacks against elected officials and a new case was reported Tuesday evening.

A 47-year-old representative of the Green Party who was putting up election posters was pushed and threatened by a man. Another woman then approached and spat in his face, state police said.

The two suspects were arrested, she added, specifying that they were a 34-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, both of German nationality.

They were part of a group standing nearby, some of whom had given the Hitler salute – a gesture banned in Germany – when the environmentalist had started putting up his posters.

Since the indignation aroused this weekend by the attack on MEP Ecke, many German officials have questioned the responsibility of the far-right AfD party in the propagation of hate speech favoring violence.

According to provisional police figures, 2,790 crimes were committed against politicians in Germany in 2023, compared to 1,806 the previous year, but less than the 2,840 recorded in 2021, the year of the legislative elections.


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