The suspect “threw two of her eggs at Mr. K. after a brief scuffle. One of them hit Mr. K. in the head,” noted a police officer in the criminal police reporting service on politically motivated crime. The State Criminal Police Office of North Rhine-Westphalia added that there were indications that the suspect could be "assigned to the 'lateral thinker' scene".
"Mr. K." is SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert. At the beginning of December, a woman was sentenced to a fine at the district court there for throwing eggs at an SPD election campaign event at the end of April last year in Detmold.
It is just one of a total of 1,398 crimes recorded against politicians and party members in 2022. Members of the Greens were affected 399 times, members of the SPD 386 times and members of the AfD 321 times. 306 crimes were assigned to the perpetrator milieu – in technical jargon “phenomena” – “left”, 224 crimes to the “right” phenomenon, 14 to “foreign ideology”. 887 acts could not be assigned to any category of phenomena.
This emerges from a response from the federal government to a small request from the AfD parliamentary group. The answer is available to WELT. It is primarily about insults and damage to property, public calls for criminal offenses and the use of signs of unconstitutional organizations, but also about 106 threats and 32 physical injuries.
For example, at the end of August 2022, unknown perpetrators spilled a liquid in a party office of the Green Party in Bonn. The resulting fumes caused pain to two employees.
At the end of June, unknown perpetrators threw a bottle filled with butyric acid into the window of the law office of the Saxon AfD member of parliament Joachim Keiler. As a result, Keiler and three other people suffered “health impairments due to the irritating smell,” as noted by the criminal police reporting service.
In 2022, 443 criminal offenses against party buildings were also recorded. 122 of these relate to Green Party institutions, 104 to the AfD and 90 to the SPD. Within this area of politically motivated crime, 174 offenses were assigned to the perpetrator milieu “left”, 64 “right”, 14 “foreign ideology”, 180 “cannot be assigned”.
1,483 other offenses relate to election posters. This is mainly about damage to property and theft. The AfD is by far the most affected here with 432 cases; election posters for the SPD (269), CDU (261) and Greens (222) are also often damaged. 370 offenses were assigned to “left”, 104 to “right”.
There was a significant increase in the total number of offenses in a year-on-year comparison from 2020 to 2021, which the Federal Ministry of the Interior attributes to the pandemic situation and the federal election campaign. In 2022, the numbers have fallen again.
In 2022, a total of 15 issues relating to attacks or planned attacks on party institutions or representatives were discussed at the joint federal and state counter-extremism and terrorism center. The SPD, AfD and Greens were affected five times each, and the Left Party three times. Nine issues were addressed in the "left" area, six in the "right" area.
The AfD domestic politician Martin Hess wants to see in the numbers that left-wing extremism is “a much greater danger to our democracy than right-wing extremism”. "Stop playing down and relativizing these enemies of democracy by the traffic light government," he told WELT. "Left-wing extremism and terrorism must finally be clearly identified as such and consequently combated accordingly."
However, if one looks at the total number of crimes in the area of politically motivated crime, i.e. not only crimes against politicians and parties, a different picture emerges. Accordingly, in 2021, 21,964 crimes were assigned to "right" and 10,113 crimes to "left". Of the criminal offenses with an extremist background, 20,201 were assigned to “right” and 6142 to “left”. More recent figures are not yet available. According to a long-term study by “Tagesspiegel” and “Zeit Online”, there have been at least 187 fatalities from right-wing extremist violence since 1990.
Konstantin von Notz, Greens parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, considers the numbers to be "worrying". "We must not accept the radicalization of parts of society," he told WELT. “One thing is absolutely clear: in a constitutional state, violence should never be used as a means of political debate. It doesn't matter who it is directed against in the specific case." The right-wing terrorist murder of Walter Lübcke (CDU) is also a reminder that the state must not allow "people who work for our democracy to be injured".
The Federal Ministry of the Interior, headed by Nancy Faeser (SPD), is also concerned. "Attempts to intimidate people who work for the community with a high level of personal commitment are particularly threatening to democracy and must be stopped with all the means available to the rule of law," said a spokeswoman. Politicians at federal, state and local level are affected.
In the answer to the question from the AfD parliamentary group, the federal government refers to the provisional nature of the case numbers; they are still subject to changes due to late or change reports.
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