Far-Right Violence Rising Sharply in Germany

Far-Right Violence Rising Sharply in Germany
Far-Right Violence Rising Sharply in Germany

The number of violent crimes committed in Germany by far-right extremists has risen by over 40% in a year, the nation’s internal intelligence agency says. In particular, asylum seekers have been targeted.

In its annual report, Germany’s domestic intelligence service (BfV) showed a 42% increase in violent acts by extremists associated with the far-right in 2015, describing attacks against journalists, politicians and refugees, Deutsche Welle reported.

The report shows a recorded 1,408 violent crimes, compared to 990 such crimes in 2014.

During the same period, 75 arson attacks against refugee centers were recorded, up from just five a year earlier.

The report revealed the first full year data to be released since Germany saw the arrival of around 1.2 million migrants, which has led to a growing anti-foreigner sentiment.

It said violent acts against immigrants did not generally appear to be systematically orchestrated, though many of the arson attacks did bear signs of careful planning and preparation.

Germany is home to an estimated 11,800 violent far-right extremists, roughly half the total number of far-right individuals in the country, the report added.

“Current investigations against the suspected development of terrorist groups point to the possible emergence of rightwing terrorist structures in Germany and the need for the government to take rigorous action,” the interior ministry said in a statement along with the report.

Intelligence officials also highlighted the role of social networks in “agitation and radicalization”, adding that uninhibited hate speech dehumanizes minorities and fuels real-world violent crime.

At the same time, acts of violence by members of far-left groups also rose sharply to 1,608 offences from 995 the previous year. The report said those attacks often targeted far-right activists or police.