Two weeks before the World Cup, eastern Germany has witnessed a series of racist attacks by suspected neo-Nazis. Among the injured was an Indian, a flea market trader in Wismar. The other attacks took place in Berlin and Weimar. The police acted swiftly and arrested up to 14 persons for having been involved in these attacks.
Neo-Nazis in Leipzig
Most of the attacks took place either late Thursday or early on Friday, Thursday having been Ascension Day, which is a public holiday in Germany.
The 36 year old Indian trader at the flea market in Wismar was beaten up and kicked by young men between the ages of 20 and 24, according to witnesses. Apparently the men shouted ‘Sieg Heil’ before attacking the trader. The victim suffered minor injuries. Police later arrested five of the suspected assailants.
In Weimar, again in eastern Germany, a group of suspected far-right hooligans disrupted a private party in which various immigrant families were taking part. The attackers shouted racist remarks and severely beat up two men from Mozambique and one man from Cuba. A 46 year old man from Mozambique had to be taken to the hospital with a severe head injury. The Cuban had his nose broken. The second man from Mozambique got away with a bruised face. Police arrested eight persons in connection with the incident. Warrants have been issued against three right-wing extremists. Apparently the persons involved in the attack belong to a neo-Nazi group called the ‘Brown Action Front Apolda’, brown being the colour which traditionally designates Nazi ideological leanings in Germany. According to a statement by the public prosecutor’s office, the attackers were drunk at the time, but there is no evidence that they planned the attack. Their victims have been living in Germany for the past 20 years.
In Berlin, a Turk, a Lebanese and a Guinean were attacked in three separate incidents till Friday. The worst of them took place in the east Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg, where a 29 year old Turkish man was attacked while in the company of his Norwegian girlfriend and two other Germans. Apparently the attackers made racist remarks. Four men were detained by the police in this connection.
Würzburg and Lübeck
The western part of Germany has not been free of such slurs either. Nine people were detained in Würzburg after shouting Nazi slogans at a birthday party.
In Lübeck up north a group of drunken skinheads were found shouting threats at ‘foreigners’ on Thursday. Police temporarily detained 16 of them.
Time for action
What all this bodes for Germany’s image so shortly before the World Cup, can well be imagined.
Berlin’s Senator for the Interior Ehrhart Körting (SPD) said that the arrests showed the police was keeping an eye on the far-right scene and would prosecute (all attackers) without exception.
In Berlin representatives of all the main political parties met at a roundtable to thrash out their positions regarding far-right radicalism and violence.
Nothing could be more advisable.