German far-right candidate wounded in stabbing amid series of political attacks

The incident, which reportedly began when the AfD member caught someone tearing down a campaign poster, comes amid a wave of attacks on both government and opposition politicians

An AfD election poster for the European elections reading "our country first" is fixed on a pole in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
An AfD election poster for the European elections reading "our country first" is fixed on a pole in Frankfurt, Germany, Monday, May 13, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

BERLIN (AP) — A member of a German far-right party was stabbed and wounded in the southwestern city of Mannheim, German news agency dpa reported Wednesday, only days after a knife attack killed one police officer and left five other people injured in the same city.

Dpa reported that a candidate with the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, reportedly caught somebody trying to tear down an election poster on Tuesday evening.

When he confronted that person, he was attacked with a knife. Dpa reported that the candidate was still in a hospital with non-life-threatening cuts.

The candidate, who was campaigning for Sunday’s local elections in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where Mannheim is located, was not identified. The attacker was detained, dpa reported.

“We are shocked and dismayed,” local AfD leader Markus Frohnmaier told dpa.

Mannheim police confirmed that an incident took place Tuesday night and said they would release more details later, dpa reported.

A forensic police officers walks past a smashed stall which had a banner with writing reading ‘Stop political Islam’ on the market square in Mannheim, Germany, May 31, 2024 (Uwe Anspach/dpa via AP)

On Friday, a 25-year-old Afghan man stabbed several members of a group that describes itself as opposing “political Islam.”

The group, Pax Europa, describes itself as an organization that informs the public about the dangers posed by the “increasing spread and influence of political Islam.”

Michael Stuerzenberger, an activist who is one of the group’s leading figures and has spoken at its events, was among those wounded.

The attacker was still in the hospital.

Tuesday’s attack is the latest in a series on politicians in the country that has raised concern over rising political violence in Germany.

Last month, Franziska Giffey, Berlin’s top economic official, a former mayor and an ex-federal minister, was attacked at an event in a local library by a man who approached her from behind and hit her with a bag containing a hard device, police said.

A week before that, a candidate from the party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz was beaten up in the eastern city of Dresden while campaigning for this week’s election for the European Parliament and had to undergo surgery.

Both government and opposition parties say their members and supporters have faced a wave of physical and verbal attacks in recent months, and have called on police to step up protection for politicians and election rallies.

In February, the German Parliament said in a report there were a total of 2,790 attacks on elected representatives in 2023. Representatives of The Greens were affected in 1,219 cases, those from AfD in 478 cases and representatives of the center-left Social Democratic Party in 420 cases.

The country’s vice chancellor, Robert Habeck, who is a member of The Greens, was prevented from disembarking a ferry for hours by a group of angry farmers in January.

The vice president of the German Parliament, Katrin Goering-Eckardt, also from The Greens, was prevented from leaving an event in the state of Brandenburg last week when an angry crowd blocked her car.

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