German far-right lawmaker assaulted in 'politically-motivated' attack
A lawmaker from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was attacked and seriously wounded by several men in the northwestern city of Bremen, in an assault that drew condemnation on Tuesday from some of the party's fiercest opponents.
Bremen police said they believe the attack on 66-year-old Frank Magnitz, who serves in Germany's national parliament, was politically motivated. They called for witnesses to the attack which took place at around 5:20pm on Monday.
Police said Magnitz, who also leads a local wing of the party, was beaten over the head with an unidentified object by at least three men wearing dark clothing and hoods or hats.
An ambulance was called after two workers who were loading a nearby car spotted him lying on the ground.
The AfD party said earlier on Tuesday that Magnitz was ambushed after he left a local newspaper's New Year's reception, beaten unconscious with a piece of wood and then kicked in the head as he lay on the ground.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert, wrote on Twitter that "the brutal attack on lawmaker Frank Magnitz in Bremen must be strongly condemned. Hopefully police will quickly succeed in catching the perpetrators".
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, a centre-left politician who has been a strong critic of AfD, tweeted that "violence must never be a means of political confrontation - no matter against whom or what the motives are".
"There is no justification for this," he said, calling for those responsible to be punished.
Prominent Green Party politician, Cem Ozdemir, also condemned the attack, saying that AfD must be countered by legal means, not violence.
"Anyone who fights hatred with hatred always lets hatred win in the end," Ozdemir wrote on Twitter.
AfD is represented is currently the biggest opposition party in Germany's national parliament as is represented in all of the country's 16 state assemblies.
The party took 10 percent of the vote in Bremen in the 2017 national election, below its nationwide result of 12.6 percent. Bremen is not considered a stronghold of the six-year-old party, unlike three states in Germany's ex-communist east that hold regional votes in September and October.