09 May 2024, 10:31

Scholz urges Germans to 'go vote' against attacks on politicians

BERLIN, May 9, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday urged
voters to cast their ballots in defence of democracy, as postal voting for
June's EU elections began amid a spat of attacks against politicians in

"Attacks on our democracy concern us all," Scholz said in a video podcast

"That's why we can't stand idly by when our public officials, campaigners or
volunteers are brutally attacked. When campaign posters for the European
elections are destroyed.

"The answer that each of us can give is very simple -- go vote," he said.

Two politicians from Scholz's Social Democrats (SPD) have been assaulted in
the past week.

Matthias Ecke, the head of the SPD's European election list in the Saxony
region, was set upon last Friday by a group of youths as he put up election
posters in the eastern city of Dresden.

The four teenage attackers are thought to have links to the far-right group
known as "Elblandrevolte", according to German media.

Former Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey was at a library on Tuesday afternoon
when a man came up from behind her and hit her on the head and neck with a

The increased frequency of attacks has sparked calls for tougher action
against those who target politicians.

In his podcast, Scholz also took aim at Germany's far-right AfD party.

Without referring to the party by name, the chancellor hit out at those
calling "for Germany to leave the European Union".

"Our united Europe is too precious to be left to those who want to destroy

The AfD, which wants to dismantle the EU in its current form, is among a crop
of far-right parties across Europe expected to make gains at the June polls.

According to opinion polls, the anti-immigration party is set to win around
15 percent of the vote in Germany, tied in second place with the Greens after
the conservative CDU-CSU alliance.

The AfD has been hit by several recent scandals in Germany, including
allegations of suspicious links with Russia and China.

In the podcast, Scholz blasted those who "see (President Vladimir) Putin's
Russia or (President) Xi Jinping's China as role models for Europe".

"What self-destructive madness!," he said.


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