BERLIN (AP) — The number of politically motivated crimes reported in Germany rose 23% last year compared to the year before, Germany’s top security official said Tuesday.
The increase included a sharp rise in crimes that could not be assigned to the traditional categories of crimes motivated by right-wing or left-wing ideology, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said.
A significant proportion of these “more diverse and diffuse” offenses were committed in connection with coronavirus restrictions and Germany’s 2021 federal election, Faeser told reporters in Berlin.
Overall, Germany had 55,048 politically motivated crimes last year, the most since public agencies started tracking the data in 2001, the minister said.
“We must protect our democracy with all our strength,” Faeser said. “Politically motivated crime is an indicator of the intensity of social conflicts.”
The number of politically motivated offenses included 3,889 violent crimes, 16% more than in 2020. Faeser said 41% of the victims of politically motivated violence were attacked by right-wing extremists, a force she called “the greatest extremist threat to people in our country.”
Antisemitic crimes rose 29% compared to the previous year, numbering 3,027, the minister said. Crimes against Jews are mostly committed by far-right extremists, but also by Islamist-influenced and left-wing extremists, she added.
“It is a disgrace for our country how much antisemitic agitation and contempt for humanity is still being spread today,” Faeser said. “We are aware of our responsibility to fight anti-Semitism with all our might and to protect Jews.”
The number of crimes attributed to the far left fell by around 8%, to 10,113 offenses.
Holger Muench, the president of the Federal Criminal Police Office said Germany’s total number of politically motivated crimes has doubled in the last 10 years.
The trend reflects “a polarization and radicalization tendencies in parts of the population, which pose a considerable challenge to social coexistence, the rule of law and a democracy,” he said.
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