Germany rattled by attacks on politicians ahead of European elections

Berlin's state economy minister and former mayor of Berlin Franziska Giffey (center) speaks with journalists during an event Wednesday to promote solar energy in Berlin, one day after an attacker hit her in the head with a bag. (Michele Tantussi/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

BERLIN — Further attacks on politicians in Germany have rattled the country and prompted renewed outrage from leaders, after Berlin’s former mayor was assaulted in a library.

Franziska Giffey, the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD) in Berlin who currently serves as the city’s economy minister, was treated in hospital for slight injuries after being hit over the head with a heavy bag on Tuesday afternoon.


In a separate attack on Tuesday night, a Green Party council candidate was assaulted and spat on by two assailants while putting up campaign posters in Dresden.

Those assaults are the latest in a string of attacks aimed at politicians across the country in recent days that have prompted outrage and fears about damage to the country’s democratic norms.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz denounced them as “outrageous and cowardly.”

“Those who get involved deserve respect. Violence has no place in democratic debate,” Scholz wrote in a post to X. “The decent and reasonable people are clearly against it – and they are the majority!”

Elections to the European Parliament take place on June 6-9, and many candidates are busy campaigning and putting up posters. There are also regional parliament elections coming up in September in three states in the east of Germany.

“After the initial shock, I can say I’m fine,” Giffey said on Wednesday.

But in an Instagram post, Giffey said that violence against politicians cannot be justified.

“We live in a free and democratic country in which everyone is free to express their opinion,” Giffey wrote. “And yet there is a clear limit. And that is violence against people who hold a different opinion, for whatever reason, in whatever form.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, a German politician from the centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU), condemned the attacks and demanded decisive action in a speech to her party in Berlin.

“When we talk about threats to our democracy, it’s not just about positions and content. It’s also about people,” she said. “If these people are no longer safe, then our democracy is no longer safe either.”

She said that perpetrators must “feel the full force of the law.”

“We must protect all those who stand up for our democratic society and our country from attacks – regardless of which party they belong to, whether privately, during election campaigns or in the exercise of their duties, day or night,” von der Leyen said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email