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Sat. May 25th, 2024

Leading politicians have condemned an attack on a European deputy with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s party, after investigators said a political motive was suspected.

Scholz denounced the attack as a “threat” to democracy and the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also sounded the alarm.

Police said four unknown attackers beat up Matthias Ecke, an MEP for the Social Democratic Party (SPD), as he put up EU election posters in the eastern city of Dresden on Friday night.

Ecke, 41, was “seriously injured” and required an operation after the attack, his party said. Police confirmed he needed hospital treatment.

“Democracy is threatened by this kind of act,” Scholz told a congress of European socialist parties in Berlin, saying such attacks result from “discourse, the atmosphere created from pitting people against each other”.

“We must never accept such acts of violence… we must oppose it together.”

Borrell, posting on X, formerly Twitter, also condemned the attack.

“We’re witnessing unacceptable episodes of harassment against political representatives and growing far-right extremism that reminds us of dark times of the past,” he wrote.

“It cannot be tolerated nor underestimated. We must all defend democracy.”

The investigation is being led by the state protection services, highlighting the political link suspected by police.

“If an attack with a political motive… is confirmed just a few weeks from the European elections, this serious act of violence would also be a serious act against democracy,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in a statement.

This would be “a new dimension of anti-democratic violence”, she added.

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