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Extremism: Berlin Economics Senator Giffey injured in attack

Extremism: Berlin Economics Senator Giffey injured in attack

Before the European elections, attacks on politicians like those in Dresden are increasing. Now Berlin’s former governing mayor is also becoming a victim. The interior ministers are calling for harsher punishments.

Shortly after a special meeting of the federal and state interior ministers due to recent attacks on politicians and volunteer campaigners, another attack on Berlin’s Senator for Economic Affairs Franziska Giffey became known. The former governing mayor of the capital was slightly injured in a physical attack in the Rudow district on Tuesday afternoon, police and public prosecutors said.

A man suddenly attacked the SPD politician in a library “from behind with a bag filled with hard contents and hit her in the head and neck.” The Police State Security has taken over the investigation. In Dresden, less than three hours later, there was another attack on a Green Party politician – whose name was not initially known – while the Interior Ministers’ Conference was meeting at the same time.

Attacks are increasing

After the attack in Rudow in the afternoon, Giffey “briefly went to a hospital for outpatient treatment of headaches and neck pain,” according to a statement from the Berlin law enforcement authorities. It was not initially announced whether the suspect, who initially fled, was later arrested. When asked, the police did not comment on possible motives.

As a senator, Giffey is responsible for economics, energy and companies and was the governing mayor of the capital from 2021 to 2023. After her doctorate was revoked, she resigned from her position as Federal Family Minister in 2021 and returned to state politics, where she had previously made a name for herself as district mayor of Berlin-Neukölln.

Berlin’s Interior Senator horrified by the attack

Berlin Senator for the Interior Iris Spranger (SPD) expressed her horror after the attack on her party colleague. “I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on Franziska Giffey and other politicians or election workers, all of whom are committed to a contentious democracy,” wrote Spranger on the X platform, formerly Twitter.

“The state and federal police are doing everything they can to protect politicians. The Conference of Interior Ministers agreed at the special meeting yesterday that democracy must be protected more effectively from hate speech and misinformation. The criminal law protects individuals from such attacks at the same time to protect democracy itself.”

Berlin’s governing mayor Kai Wegner condemned the physical attack “in the strongest possible terms”. “Anyone who attacks politicians is attacking our democracy,” said the CDU politician in a statement this morning. “We will not accept that. We will oppose all forms of violence, hatred and incitement and protect our democracy.” Wegner announced that the Senate would discuss the consequences, including harsher punishments for attacks on politicians.

Police union condemns ‘sneaky attack’

The police union GdP condemned the attack on Giffey as a “sneaky attack”. “The attacks on elected officials have increased in recent years, hate comments are made on social media and verbal violence creates a breeding ground for physical violence,” said state leader Stephan Weh in a statement.

Special session for better protection

Yesterday, at their special meeting, the interior ministers spoke out in favor of better protection for politically active people and also in favor of tightening criminal law. The background was the recent attacks on politicians and volunteers during the election campaign for the European elections on June 9th.

On Friday last week, SPD politician Matthias Ecke was beaten up by four young men aged 17 and 18 in Dresden. The top candidate for the European elections in Saxony wanted to put up election posters when the perpetrators unexpectedly attacked him. The Saxony State Criminal Police Office attributes at least one of them to the right-wing spectrum. Shortly before the attack on Ecke, according to police, the same group had probably injured a Green Party campaign worker nearby.

Green Party politician spat on and threatened

The next attack followed yesterday evening in Dresden: a 47-year-old Green politician was attacked by two people while hanging up election posters. Shortly afterwards, police officers identified a 24-year-old and a 34-year-old as suspects, as the Dresden Police Department announced. A police spokesman initially did not want to say who the person attacked was.

It was said that the male attacker pushed the politician aside, insulted and threatened her. He is also said to have torn down two election posters. According to the information, the 24-year-old woman came over and spat on the politician, who was accompanied by helpers and a filming team. The police were able to find the two in the immediate vicinity of the crime scene. The 34-year-old German is being investigated for bodily harm, threats, insults and damage to property and the 24-year-old German is being investigated for bodily harm.

Because the two had previously stood with a group from which the Hitler salute was said to have been shown, they are also being investigated for using the symbols of unconstitutional organizations. Both suspects remained at large, the police spokesman said.

Faeser describes the attack in Dresden as a turning point

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) and the conference of interior ministers of the federal states called for an end to violence and agitation at their video conference on Tuesday. In their decision, the department heads condemned “in the strongest possible terms any attacks on politically active people who are committed to living democracy in Germany and who deserve the highest recognition, respect and protection for this.” The switch was scheduled after the attack on the SPD politician Ecke.

Faeser described the attack on Ecke in yesterday’s ARD “Tagesthemen” as a turning point. She will lobby Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) to tighten criminal law. Apart from that, faster judicial procedures are also needed in order to quickly show perpetrators the limits. It is also important that all crimes are reported and consistently prosecuted. The interior ministers also called on the Conference of Justice Ministers to examine whether “the deliberate spread of disinformation with the aim of influencing elections or escalating violence constitutes injustice worthy of punishment.”

According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, a significant increase in crimes against elected officials was observed last year. A total of 2,710 such crimes were recorded – 53 percent more than in the previous year.

Source: Stern

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