Far-right and far-left crime rise in Germany in 2019

by Reuters
Thursday, 9 July 2020 12:20 GMT

By Markus Wacket

BERLIN, July 9 (Reuters) - Criminal offences inspired by both far-right and far-left ideas rose in Germany in 2019, an annual domestic intelligence report released by the interior ministry showed on Thursday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government was forced to act last year on right-wing political violence after the killing of a pro-immigration politician and an attack on a synagogue and a kebab shop by an anti-Semitic gunman, which left two dead.

The government imposed tougher rules on gun ownership and stricter monitoring of hate speech online, responding to a rise in hate crime.

Individuals with far-right world views committed more than 22,300 offences in 2019, the interior ministry figures showed, including two murders, five attempted murders and almost 800 bodily injuries, a rise of almost 10%.

Thomas Haldenwang, head of the BfV domestic security agency, said anti-Semitic crime rose by 17% and 94% of the offences raging from bodily harm to verbal abuse and anti-Semitic propaganda were carried out by far-right sympathisers.

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said a rise in criminal offences by far-right oriented individuals against foreigners and Muslims had also risen.

"We have to remain vigilant and ready to act," said Seehofer.

Germany was also shaken this year by the killing in February of eight women and a man with foreign background in a shooting spree at Shisha bars in the western city of Hanau by a gunman espousing conspiracy theories and deeply racist views.

The killings will appear in next year's report.

This year's report also found that criminal offences committed by far-left sympathisers had risen to 6,400, a increase of 40%. This included two attempted murders and 355 bodily harm offences.

Haldenwang said his agency also faces the challenge of monitoring Islamists determined to carry out attacks in Germany. (Writing by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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