German Police Record Nearly 300 Politically Motivated Violent Incidents Related to Coronavirus

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 14: Police clash with left-wing antifa counter-demonstrators protesting against a demonstration of the Querdenker movement on November 14, 2020 in Frankfurt, Germany. Some hundreds of demonstrators gather to protest against coronavirus lockdown restrictions Police, who have in the past looked on without strongly intervening …
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

Since March, the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has reported 297 politically motivated crimes relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

The vast majority of the incidents, 160, were committed by far-left extremists, while 48 were related to the far-right. Eighty-nine offences, meanwhile, were not attributed to either category.

The most serious incident was an attempted homicide, possibly linked to the investigation into far-left extremists in Leipzig last month that saw Antifa activists brutally attack anti-lockdown protesters and stamp on a man’s head.

Police Commissioner Boris Novak told tabloid Bild that the mood towards police has become “much more aggressive” since the outbreak of the Chinese coronavirus.

“Since the Corona crisis, people whom we would never expect have attacked us. Ordinary citizens,” Novak said, adding: “We’re just becoming more of a target than we usually are.”

Much of the violence has revolved around the protests carried out against the coronavirus lockdowns by the “Querdenker” (“lateral thinker”) movement, which organised large-scale demonstrations in Berlin in August that even saw some supporters try to storm the Reichstag building.

In November, police used water cannons in Frankfurt against far-left Antifa extremists who came to a Querdenker protest to shut down the anti-lockdown group but ended up attacking the police.

While far-left extremists have perpetrated most of the violence reported by the BKA, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) claimed earlier this month that the Querdenker movement had the potential to become more violent.

Stating that the group has “intensified escalation potential”, the BfV admitted that many smaller anti-lockdown protests have been relatively peaceful.

Despite this, some regions, such as Baden-Württemberg, have placed the Querdenker movement members under observation. While Lower Saxony Interior Minister Boris Pistorius said the movement has developed “into an attack on the state and democracy”.

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