Olaf Scholz says attacks on deputies ‘threaten’ democracy

Olaf Scholz says attacks on deputies ‘threaten’ democracy
Olaf Scholz says attacks on deputies ‘threaten’ democracy

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gestures as he delivers a speech during the congress of Germany’s Social Democratic SPD Party ‘Democracy congress for Europe’ in Berlin, Germany, on May 4, 2024. ― AFP pic

BERLIN, May 4 ― German Chancellor Olaf Scholz today condemned an attack on one of his party’s European Parliament deputies as a “threat” to democracy after authorities said a political motive was suspected.

Police said four unknown attackers beat up Matthias Ecke, an MEP for the Social Democratic Party (SPD), as he put up EU election posters in the eastern city of Dresden last night.

Ecke, 41, was “seriously injured” and required an operation after the attack, his party said. Police confirmed he needed hospital treatment.

“Democracy is threatened by this kind of act,” Scholz told a congress of European socialist parties in Berlin, saying such attacks result from “discourse, the atmosphere created from pitting people against each other”.

“We must never accept such acts of violence... we must oppose it together.”

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The investigation is being led by the state protection services, highlighting the political link suspected by police.

“If an attack with a political motive... is confirmed just a few weeks from the European elections, this serious act of violence would also be a serious act against democracy,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement.

Ecke, who is head of the SPD EU election list in the Saxony region, was just the latest political target to be attacked in Germany.

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Police added that a 28-year-old man putting up posters for the Greens had earlier been “punched” and “kicked” in the same Dresden street. The same attackers were suspected.

Faeser said “extremists and populists are stirring up a climate of increasing violence”.

The SPD highlighted the role of the far-right “AfD party and other right-wing extremists” in increased tensions.

“Their supporters are now completely uninhibited and clearly view us democrats as game,” said Henning Homann and Kathrin Michel, regional SPD leaders.

On Thursday two Greens deputies were abused while campaigning in Essen in western Germany and one was hit in the face, police said.

Last Saturday, dozens of demonstrators surrounded parliament deputy speaker Katrin Goering-Eckardt, also a Greens lawmaker, in her car in eastern Germany. Police reinforcements had to clear a route for her to get away. ― AFP

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