1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

German politician attack: 4 teens identified as suspects

Published May 6, 2024last updated May 6, 2024

After the attack on Matthias Ecke, a center-left lawmaker in the eastern city of Dresden, police say they have identified and searched the homes of three more teenage suspects. One teen had earlier turned himself in.

An election placard showing Matthias Ecke on the side of a street
Matthias Ecke was set upon by four attackers as he put up EU election posters in Dresden Image: Robert Michael/dpa/picture alliance

German police said on Monday said that investigators had identified three more suspects after an attack on the European lawmaker Matthias Ecke and a Green Party campaign worker in Dresden.

Ecke, a member of the European parliament for Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats (SPD), was set upon by four attackers as he displayed EU election posters in Dresden on Friday night, according to the police.

How the investigation has proceeded

After a 17-year-old had already turned himself in, the apartments of three other suspects were searched.

During the investigation, two additional suspects were initially identified and their apartments were searched early on Sunday evening on the orders of the Dresden District Court.

A fourth suspect was identified on Sunday, whose apartment was also searched late in the evening. Investigators said evidence was confiscated and was now being evaluated. All four are said to be aged either 17 or 18.

A spokeswoman for the state police said the searches took place in Dresden and the surrounding area. 

Among others, officers from the police counter-terrorism and extremism units and the riot police were involved.

The investigators were said to have tracked down the three other suspects by evaluating evidence that was confiscated from the one who confessed. Police on Sunday said the 17-year-old who initially came forward had no previous criminal record, and had so far "not commented on the motive for the offence."

Media reports suggested that right-wing extremist leanings were found in the first suspect's home.  

A spokesperson for the state criminal investigation office later said there was reason to believe one of the suspects has right-wing views.

Politically motivated violence in Germany 

On Monday, Ecke shared a picture of his injuries on X, formerly Twitter, showing a black eye and his cheek swollen with a plaster.

"This is not just about me, but about everyone who is politically active out of passion. In a democracy, nobody should have to fear speaking their mind!" he wrote.

Chancellor Scholz condemned the attack, saying it was a threat to democracy. On Monday, the German Interior Ministry said interior ministers of Germany's 16 states would hold an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday to discuss measures to counter attacks on politicians. 

These include greater police presence at political events both at the local and the federal level, as well as better protection of the privacy of politicians. 

The 41-year-old Ecke, head of the SPD's European election list in the Saxony region, was knocked down as he put up posters ahead of the June elections. He was "seriously injured" and needed an operation after the attack, his party said.

Ecke was just the latest political target to be attacked in Germany. Police said a 28-year-old man putting up posters for the Greens had been "punched" and "kicked" earlier in the evening on the same Dresden street.

In response to the violence, thousands of demonstrators gathered in the streets of Dresden and Berlin on Sunday to protest right-wing extremism and political violence.

An Interior Ministry spokesperson said Monday the attacks constitute a "new dimension of violence." 

Germany's Scholz condemns attack on SPD's EU election candidate

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.

rc/wmr (AFP, dpa)