Former Berlin mayor injured in attack

Former Berlin mayor injured in attack
Former Berlin mayor injured in attack

The former mayor of Berlin, Social Democrat Franziska Giffey, was slightly injured after being hit on the head.

AFP

The former mayor of Berlin, Social Democrat Franziska Giffey, was slightly injured after being hit in the head, police announced on Wednesday, a case which adds to the multiplication of attacks against elected officials in Germany.

The suspect approached Franziska Giffey while she was in a library in the south of the capital, in the Rudow district, on Tuesday and hit her on the head and neck with a bag. The stranger then quickly moved away.

Ms Giffey, who is currently Minister of Economy of the city-state of Berlin, went “briefly to hospital to be treated for head pain”, Berlin police said.

The current mayor, conservative Kai Wegner, condemned the attack, saying that anyone who attacks political leaders is “attacking our democracy.”

“We will not tolerate this,” he said, pledging to consider “tougher penalties for attacks on politicians.”

Several political leaders have been threatened or attacked recently in Germany in the context of a tense electoral campaign before the European vote on June 9 and several regional elections in September.

The most serious case at this stage concerns an MEP from Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party, who was seriously injured last week by four people while putting up posters in the Saxon city of Dresden, in former communist GDR.

Matthias Ecke, 41, required surgery for serious facial injuries. The attack was denounced by Mr. Scholz as a threat to democracy.

A new case of assault was reported Tuesday evening in this city: a 47-year-old environmentalist politician who was putting up election posters was pushed and threatened by a man. Another woman then approached and spat in his face, state police said.

The two suspects were arrested, she added, specifying that they were a 34-year-old man and a 24-year-old woman, both of German nationality.

They were part of a group standing nearby, some of whom had given the Hitler salute – a gesture banned in Germany – when the environmentalist had started putting up his posters.

According to provisional police figures, 2,790 crimes were committed against political leaders in Germany in 2023, compared to 1,806 the previous year, but less than the 2,840 recorded in 2021, the year of the legislative elections.

(afp)

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