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German far-right growing and more prone to violence - govt agency

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By Reuters
German far-right growing and more prone to violence - govt agency
German far-right growing and more prone to violence - govt agency   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2022

BERLIN, June 7 – Political extremism is a growing threat to Germany, with its adherents, primarily on the far right and increasingly driven by misinformation, ever more willing to resort to violence, a new report by domestic intelligence showed.

The Federal Agency for the Protection of the Constitution counted 33,476 politically motivated crimes in 2021, a slight increase over the previous year, after 32,924 in 2020, but there was a 10% increase in politically motivated violent crime.

“Far-right extremism remains the biggest extremist threat to our democracy,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said introducing the report on Tuesday. “We see a high degree of openness to violence here.”

Political extremism is highly sensitive in Germany given the country’s Nazi past and many Germans feel a special responsibility to root out racism and intolerance.

The president of the domestic intelligence service, Thomas Haldenwang, said misinformation played a key role in nourishing all the various extremist activity.

In a positive development, the German population seemed more or less immune to propaganda Russia was spreading in Germany in support of its war in Ukraine.

The number of far-right activists grew slightly to 33,900 people, while the number of of people belonging to the “Reichsbuerger” scene – a revanchist group that claims allegiance to earlier, less democratic German states – also grew sligtly to 21,000.

Growth in the latter field was driven especially by resistance to measures such as compulsory mask-wearing that was designed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the report said.

Far-left extremism was also on the rise, with some 34,700 people seen as belonging to that group, a slight increase over the previous year. Islamist extremist activity fell slightly.