Franziska Giffey: Berlin politician attacked in library – DW – 05/08/2024

Franziska Giffey: Berlin politician attacked in library – DW – 05/08/2024

Berlin’s state minister for economy, energy and enterprise, Franziska Giffey of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), has been injured in an attack in a library in the Rudow district of the German capital.

A man suddenly attacked her “from behind with a bag filled with hard contents and hit her on the head and neck” in a library on Tuesday afternoon, police said on Wednesday.

Giffey, a former mayor of Berlin and an ex-federal minister, “briefly went to hospital for outpatient treatment for head and neck pain,” police and the Berlin prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

Berlin prosecutors said that they had identified the suspected attacker, but did not give details.

The politician herself later took to social media to say: “After the initial shock, I can say I’m fine.” 

But in her Instagram post, she went on to condemn a “‘fair-game culture in which people who are politically active and engaged in our country are increasingly exposed to supposedly justified and acceptable attacks.”

“They are a transgression of boundaries that we as a society must resolutely oppose,” she wrote.

Pattern of attacks on politicians

In another incident on Tuesday, a 47-year-old Greens politician in the eastern city of Dresden was threatened and spat upon as she hung up campaign posters.

A DW reporting team was at the scene and recorded the incident.

A man, 34, and woman, 24, both German nationals, are under investigation for their suspected involvement, police said.

They reportedly belonged to a group of people standing nearby as the politician began her work. That group is also under investigation after an illegal Nazi slogan was allegedly heard emanating from it.

The attacks come just days after assaults on the European lawmaker Matthias Ecke and a Green Party campaign worker.

Ecke, a member of the European Parliament for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD, was set upon by four attackers as he displayed EU election posters in Dresden on Friday night, according to the police.

Politicians condemn ‘spiral of violence’ 

Berlin’s state minister for sports, Iris Spranger, “strongly” condemned the attack “on Franziska Giffey and on other politicians and election workers, all of whom are committed to a democratic debate.”

“The state and federal police forces are doing everything they can to protect politicians. The conference of interior ministers agreed yesterday at the special session that democracy must be protected more effectively against hate speech and false information.”

“The protection of individuals from such attacks under criminal law also serves to protect democracy itself.”

The co-chairperson of the Greens, Ricarda Lang, wrote on X that such attacks had become the norm for many people involved in the election campaign and that she “has the greatest respect and deep gratitude” for those who continued to work for democracy. 

The interior minister of the neighboring state of Brandeburg, Michael Stübgen, from the opposition Christian Democrats (CDU), condemned what he called a rising trend of threats to politicians and toward brutalization in social media.

“Unfortunately, we have seen this spiral for years, and this year we have a spiral of violence with physical attacks on politicians that worries me greatly,” he told radio station RBB24 Inforadio.

Local lawmakers increasingly insulted, threatened, attacked

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jsi,tj/nm (AFP, dpa)

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