Written by 15:32 World

Far-Right Politician Attacked With Box Cutter in Germany

A municipal candidate for the far-right Alternative for Germany party was slashed with a box cutter in the western German city of Mannheim, the authorities said on Wednesday.

While the police said that the incident on Tuesday night did not appear to be politically motivated, it came four days after a knife attack on members of an anti-Islam party in the same city, which raised concerns about more violence in the prelude to Sunday’s vote in Germany for the European Parliament.

The attack on Tuesday occurred after the candidate, Heinrich Koch, who is running for municipal office in Mannheim, noticed a man “taking down and slashing” Alternative for Germany campaign posters, according to Emil Sänze, a party spokesman in the state of Baden-Württemberg, which includes Mannheim.

After Mr. Koch confronted him, the man attacked Mr. Koch with a box cutter, Mr. Sänze said. Mr. Koch was taken to a hospital for stitches on Tuesday night but is expected to make a full recovery, according to Mr. Sänze.

Mr. Sänze said that Mr. Koch had filmed the altercation, which helped the police to make an arrest.

The Mannheim police said that a 25-year-old who was suffering from “clear indications of a mental illness” had been detained and taken to a closed psychiatric ward. The police added that they did not think the suspect had realized that Mr. Koch was a member of Alternative for Germany, also known as AfD.

Concerns about political violence intensified in Germany after the earlier attack in Mannheim, on Friday, when a man with a large knife stabbed five people campaigning with a small anti-Islam group in the central market square. A police officer who had been trying to intervene was also wounded and later died.

The AfD has since ramped up its critiques of the government’s refugee policies, while politicians from elsewhere on the political spectrum are again discussing how to deport people whose asylum cases have been rejected. The suspect in the Friday attack is an Afghan citizen who has been living in Germany for over a decade.

In addition to the vote for the European Parliament, Baden-Württemberg will also on Sunday hold the municipal elections in which Mr. Koch is a candidate.

The police and politicians in Germany have noted an uptick in violence against candidates and campaigns in recent weeks. Last month, Mathias Ecke, a European Parliament candidate for the Social Democrats, who lead Germany’s coalition government, was assaulted while hanging posters in Dresden, leaving him with a broken cheekbone and eye socket.


Last modified: 7 June 2024