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Germany: Far-right AfD candidate attacked in Mannheim

June 5, 2024

A local candidate for the far-right AfD party was attacked with a knife in Mannheim. The victim was hospitalized, and the perpetrator, who was said to have shown signs of mental illness, was arrested.

An AfD logo at a campaign event ahead of the European elections
Attacks against political figures have increased in recent weeks in GermanyImage: Michael Bihlmayer/CHROMORANGE/picture alliance

A suspect was arrested after a local council candidate for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) was attacked with a knife, police and prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The attack was the latest in a series of incidents against politicians that have heightened concerns over rising political violence in Germany.

What we know about the incident

The candidate was attacked after confronting an individual who was trying to remove an election poster on Tuesday, officials said. The perpetrator injured the man with a carpet knife.

The politician was injured in the incident but did not suffer life-threatening injuries, a joint statement said.

The German DPA news agency reported that the incident happened at about 10:45 p.m. local time (2045 GMT/UTC).

Mannheim AfD councilor Jörg Finkler said his 62-year-old friend and colleague, who was taken to hospital, had suffered injuries to the ear and stomach.

Fears in Germany over rise in political violence

"We are shocked and dismayed," said AfD state chairman Markus Frohnmaier.

Police arrested a 25-year-old suspect who made a brief escape attempt and was said to have exhibited signs of mental illness as he was detained.

According to the AfD, the person attacked was Heinrich Koch, who is placed third on the party list for the Mannheim city council election on Sunday.

The alleged incident comes just days after another stabbing attack in the same city that resulted in the death of a police officer. The incident happened at a rally held by anti-Islamic group Pax Europa.

String of political attacks

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser condemned the violence.

"I wish the injured man a good and full recovery and thank the police for their quick intervention," she said. "There is never any justification for violence."

Germany has been shocked by a series of attacks on politicians while they were working or on the campaign trail ahead of elections for the European Parliament.

A European Parliament lawmaker for Scholz's center-left Social Democrats, Matthias Ecke, was attacked by a group of youths last month while putting up election posters in the eastern city of Dresden.

Only days later, the former Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey was hit on the head and neck with a bag containing hard objects as she visited a library in the capital.

rc/ab (AFP, dpa)

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