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Germany: Far-right AfD's donation account shut down

July 4, 2024

The Alternative for Germany must now look for a new banking provider, as Grannies against the Right stir up trouble for the far-right party.

The AfD logo on a banner
Grannies against the Far-right collected more than 33,000 signatures for their petition to shut down the AfD accountImage: Michael Bihlmayer/CHROMORANGE/picture alliance

The donation account for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was shut down on Wednesday after activists gathered names on a petition in opposition to the populist group, media reported on Thursday.

The civil initiative Omas gegen Rechts, which translates to "grannies against the far right," collected more than 33,000 signatures in an online petition, which they then handed over to the Berliner Volksbank and called for the bank to close the party's donation account.

The German newspaper TAZ first reported on the account closure on Wednesday, with events later being confirmed by other outlets on Thursday.

Bank confirms receipt of petition

The bank confirmed that it had met the activists and received their petition, but would not comment on the status of the account due to privacy rules.

However, a link on the AfD's website that directed supporters to donate money to the bank account had disappeared by Thursday. Donations via other methods were still possible.

The Berliner Volksbank did not deny the closure of the account.

"Since we've handed over the petition, we assume that there are no longer any business relations between the AfD and the Berliner Volksbank," Omas gegen Rechts said on social media.

In their post, they also thanked the Berlin-based bank and the petitioners for their "victory."

Germany's far-right AfD riding high despite setbacks

Omas gegen Rechts is a civil society platform that was founded on Facebook in November 2017 by Monika Salzer. They operate throughout Germany and their social media accounts on TikTok and Instagram have accumulated tens and thousands of followers.

The German news agency DPA reported that transfers to the bank were still possible amid a transition period during which the account would still be accessible.

AfD's rise met with opposition

Having a far-right party like the AfD as a client was guided by the "principle of political neutrality," the German bank said earlier this year.

According to the bank, it follows the applicable laws with regard to the equal treatment of all bank customers.

This "also applies to political parties that are democratically legitimized in liberal elections and represented in German parliaments," a bank official said.

The AfD has risen to its highest level of support in the polls, especially in Germany's eastern states. In last month's European Parliament elections, it made considerable gains across almost all age groups.

Amid a fear of a resurgent far right, thousands of people have come out in protest against the party. Groups like Omas gegen Rechts have been in frequent opposition.

Earlier this year, the Munich Administrative Court allowed the Bavarian intelligence agency to monitor the regional association of the AfD as a suspected extremist group.

The party did not immediately comment on the account closure.

Far-right AfD reelects leaders amid protests

sp,ab/rmt (dpa, DW sources)