Far-right crimes reach record high in Germany

Published 26.04.2017 00:35

Far-right crimes in Germany reached a new record high of 23,555 cases in 2016, according to the interior minister on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference in Berlin, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the increasing scale of violence was a worrisome development.

"Violent offences have increased significantly, this should be of real concern to us all. We are particularly witnessing an increase in grievous bodily harm," De Maiziere said.

Among the 23,555 far-right offences recorded by police last year, 1,698 of them were violent attacks.

These included six cases of attempted homicide, 78 serious offences involving bodily injury, 74 cases of arson attacks and five offences involving explosives.

Far-right offences in Germany spiked last year to their highest level since 2001, amid growing anti-refugee sentiment in the country triggered by propaganda from far-right parties. De Maiziere warned the tendency towards more violence was also seen among radical left and foreign groups.

Germany society has been polarized by the influx of some 890,000 asylum seekers last year with another 213,000 applying in the first nine months of 2016. Although many fewer migrants have entered the country in 2016, parties on the far right have called for an immigration cap.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had repeatedly refused limiting the number of asylum seekers coming to Germany. However, in the face of heavy opposition against her migrant policy, she has made it a priority to ensure that migrants who are not granted asylum in Germany be returned to their home countries more swiftly.

Germany's position in the refugee crisis has transformed the AfD into a staunch anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim movement. The AfD has capitalized on widespread discontent about the arrival of the large number of migrants, which it argues resulted from Merkel's promise of sanctuary to Syrian refugees. The right-wing populist AfD party clinched almost 21 percent in its first bid for seats in the regional parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania last year.

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