German far-right MP injured in targeted attack

According to AfD, three masked men hit Mr Frank Magnitz with a piece of wood and kicked him on the ground.
According to AfD, three masked men hit Mr Frank Magnitz with a piece of wood and kicked him on the ground.

BERLIN • A far-right German MP was seriously injured in a "politically motivated" gang attack in the north of the country, police said yesterday.

Mr Frank Magnitz, leader in Bremen of the anti-immigration populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD), was assaulted in the city centre on Monday afternoon.

"Given the victim's work, we believe that this is a politically motivated act," the police said.

The AfD party published a photograph of Mr Magnitz unconscious on a hospital bed, his face bleeding and swollen with a gash on his forehead.

It said three masked men had carried out the attack.

"They hit him with a piece of wood until he was unconscious and then kicked him on the ground," a statement from the party said, adding that a construction worker had intervened to stop the assault. "Today is a dark day for democracy in Germany."

AfD leader Joerg Meuthen tweeted that Mr Magnitz was "beaten almost to death" in a "cowardly and sickening" attack.

Mr Johannes Kahrs, an MP from the Social Democrats, junior partners in the ruling coalition, said that "violence is never acceptable" and that "extremism in any form is rubbish".

 

He wished Mr Magnitz a quick recovery.

Mr Cem Ozdemir of the opposition Greens party said he hoped those responsible could be "found and convicted soon" and that "nothing justifies violence".

"Those who fight hate with hate only allow hate to win in the end," added the politician, who is of Turkish origin.

Last week, an explosive device detonated in a rubbish bin damaged an AfD office in Saxony. Three suspects were detained.

And last weekend in Lower Saxony, the home of a local AfD politician was targeted with graffiti while a party office was attacked with a paint bomb.

The AfD entered Germany's Parliament with almost 13 per cent of the vote in September 2017, making it the strongest opposition party in the Bundestag Lower House.

The party is expected to make gains in European elections in May and three regional polls in the former communist east later this year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 09, 2019, with the headline 'German far-right MP injured in targeted attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe