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German lawmaker attacked amid spate of political violence

June 1, 2024

Roderich Kiesewetter, a conservative parliamentarian, was assaulted at a campaign event in southwest Germany. The attacker is thought to be a member of a far-right party with ties to the anti-vaxxer movement.

A man in glasses and a dark overcoat (German parliamentarian Roderich Kiesewetter of the CDU) looks into the camera
Roderich Kiesewetter has said he would refrain from pressing charges if his attacker apologizedImage: Bernd Elmenthaler/IMAGO

Roderich Kiesewetter, a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member of the German Bundestag, became the latest politician in the country to be physically assaulted in the run-up to the European Union elections next Sunday.

Kiesewetter, a former soldier, was campaigning in Aalen in the southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg on Saturday morning when he was verbally and physically assaulted by a 55-year-old man who police say is known to them.

The man approached the CDU campaign stand where he verbally assaulted Kiesewetter who asked the man to stop.

At that point, he began to tear down the campaign stand. When Kiesewetter attempted to take a photo of the attacker, the man punched the lawmaker before shoving him to the ground and fleeing the scene.

Fears in Germany over rise in political violence

Kiesewetter, who sustained minor injuries during the altercation, offered to forego pressing charges if the perpetrator apologized.

Local media outlets reported that the attacker is a candidate for the Aalen city council and a member of a far-right party thought to have ties to the anti-vaxxer "Querdenker" movement. 

Numerous politicians from the Social Democratic Party, Greens and Free Democrats released statements of solidarity with their CDU colleague and a cross-party vigil against political violence has been scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser took to the social media platform X to wish Kiesewetter well while condemning violence, which she said is "never acceptable" in our democracy "and must be swiftly and severely punished."

js/ab (AFP, dpa)