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Germany

Schröder Slapped by Angry Man at Party Meeting

A spokesman for the police department in the city of Mannheim said a 52-year-old unemployed man approached Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at a party reception of the governing Social Democrats (SPD) and slapped him in the face. Police said the man slapped the German leader with his open hand. A government spokesman, Thomas Steg, said Schröder had been signing autographs for new members of the SPD when the incident occurred. The man, who wore the same armband as other new party members, was arrested and taken in for questioning by police. No details about possible motives were made available although Schröder's SPD has fallen dramatically in opinion polls after unpopular cuts in the country's welfare system. A 21-year-old guest at the reception said Schröder "really got it full on." The German leader, however, emerged from the incident uninjured and continued to participate in the event.