Bremen, Germany (dpa) – Mainstream Germany’s efforts to sideline the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party are to blame for an attempted murder that has left a lawmaker in hospital with serious head injuries, a party leader said on Tuesday. Frank Magnitz, a member of the Bundestag and head of the AfD in the northern city of Bremen, was attacked there Monday by at least three masked men who hit him on the head with a block of wood before fleeing. He was discovered by a pair of workers who are credited with saving his life by calling an ambulance. A party press release includes an image of Magnitz on a hospital gurney. Shot from above, it shows him with a swollen right eye and a gash extending across most of his forehead.
“This is very clearly attempted murder,” said national party leader Alexander Gauland. Gauland said politics was clearly behind the attack and laid the blame at the feet of mainstream politicians who have sought to distance themselves from the AfD and keep it from power. “It is the result of the attempts to marginalize us and attacks against the AfD,” said Gauland, noting attempts to put the party under state surveillance and a successful effort to keep a party member from becoming vice president of the national legislature. The AfD started life as a eurosceptic party, but has evolved into one with a very strong anti-migrant platform, which has prompted many other parties to vow not to work with it. The party has also invited rebuke because some members have used derogatory language directed at ethnic groups or questioned Germany’s continued repentance for its actions during World War II.
A party spokesman said the attack on Magnitz was just the latest and most serious in what he called “hundreds” of assaults on AfD party members. In recent days, an explosive was planted outside a party office in eastern Germany, while paint was thrown at the home of a member in western Germany. Magnitz spoke to dpa Tuesday and said he would be in the hospital for days. He says he remembers few details of the attack. Police have asked the public for any leads.
By Niels C Sorrells, dpa