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Germany

AfD accused of 'fake news' over Sweden travel ban post

Instead of a severe new travel warning, the German Foreign Office has in fact downgraded its alert level for Sweden. Alternative for Germany (AfD) has been accused of spreading "fake news" over the alleged warning.

Germany's Federal Foreign Office accused the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) of peddling fake news on Monday after the far-right populist party claimed the department had issued a "serious travel warning" for Sweden.

"There is no travel warning for Sweden," the Foreign Office wrote on its Facebook page. "For one year, [the department] has written in its travel and safety notes for Sweden that there is a terror alert level three - 'Increased danger'. Prior to this, the terrorism warning was level 4 - 'High risk.'"

It suggested that the announcement should properly read: "The Federal Foreign Office pointed out a year ago that the Swedish government has lowered the level of terrorism."

"We're sorry if that sounds less interesting," the Foreign Office said.

The Berlin branch of the AfD had claimed at the weekend that an increased travel warning had slipped by the mainstream media.

"A serious travel warning applies, effective since 1 March," the group posted on Twitter and Facebook.

"Strange that we didn't hear about it in the media."

The Foreign Office used the same hashtag #lastnightinsweden that was widely adopted after US President Donald Trump incorrectly claimed immigrants had mounted an attack in the Scandinavian nation.

Support for the populist party dropped from 15 percent to 10 percent in recent polls amid disunity within party ranks and controversy over a member's use of language and ideas associated with National Socialism.

aw/bw (dpa, epd, AFP)

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