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Another AfD politician's car set on fire in Berlin

April 6, 2020

For the at least the third time since March, a vehicle belonging to a member of the far-right German political party appears to have been torched on purpose. The AfD says it is the victim of far-left "violence."

Frank-Christian Hansel of the AfD
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/H. C. Dittrich

A car belonging to a member of Germany's far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party was set on fire early Monday morning in Berlin's Schöneberg neighborhood, the party said in a statement.

Berlin police have not released information on who set the fire, but confirmed that the incident was being treated as an act of "arson with a possible political motive."

Frank Hansel, chief whip for the AfD in the local parliament for the Berlin city-state, shared a photo of his burned-out Jaguar on Twitter.

"What's really bad is that people are almost getting used to this leftist orgy of violence, and so nothing follows from the CDU, the SPD, or the FDP," Hansel wrote, tagging the three mainstream parties, some of whose members had spoken out against earlier similar instances. 

As two nearby vehicles were damaged, Hansel added that "the middle class is also being attacked here."

The case is being investigated by the department of Germany's investigative police force tasked with dealing with crimes that appear to be politically motivated.

A burned-out car belonging to AfD politician Nicolaus Fest
AfD politician Nicolaus Fest's car was ruined in March, also in BerlinImage: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Stache

Series of attacks?

Since March, there have been several acts of vandalism and destruction of property belonging to AfD officials.

On Monday, the AfD parliamentary group leader in Berlin, Georg Pazderski, called the incident the "next repulsive act in a series that doesn't want to end."

Read more:  Germany's AfD considers party split amid controversy over radical wing

On March 2, a vehicle belonging to Tino Chrupalla, the AfD's co-chairman, was set on fire outside Chrupalla's home in Saxony.Following Monday's incident, Chrupalla tweeted in response: "Once again, and AfD politician's car is ablaze. Good that Frank Hansel was not hurt. This series of arson attacks shows how much our democracy is at risk." 

On March 10, a car belonging to an AfD politician in Berlin was set ablaze. In a separate incident the same day, windows at an AfD politician's house were broken with stones, and "Antifa" was spray-painted on the wall, according to Berlin police. Antifa is the short form for "anti-fascist" in the German language, and the word has become a catchall term for various far-left groups and organizations in Germany, often with very loose organizational structures or affiliations to each another.

Following the arson attack in March on Chrupalla's car, Saxony's state premier Michael Kretschmer, from Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), condemned acts of violence or vandalism against politicians. 

"One action leads to another and we need to break this circle of violence," Kretschmer said. However, he added that violence could also include verbal attacks, saying that "the AfD has made large contributions to this over the years."

wmr/msh  (AFP, dpa)

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