Assaults on German Politicians Raise Election-Year Worries

A spate of attacks on German officials and politicians has brought fresh worries over political violence and a breakdown of civility ahead of several critical elections this year, including in three states where the far-right Alternative for Germany party could make significant gains.

In the latest attack, on Friday evening, four people assaulted a prominent Social Democratic politician who was hanging campaign posters in Dresden, leaving him with a broken cheekbone and eye socket that required emergency surgery.

The official, Matthias Ecke, is running for re-election to the European Parliament.

That evening a Green Party campaigner, whose name has not been released, was attacked in the same residential neighborhood, by what the police believe was the same group of people. A day earlier, on Thursday, Rolf Fliss, the deputy mayor of the city of Essen, 300 miles west, was punched in the face by a group of men with whom he had been having what he initially characterized as a “friendly exchange.”

The violent attack on Mr. Ecke drew a sharp response from Chancellor Olaf Scholz, himself a Social Democrat, in Berlin on Saturday.

“Democracy is threatened by such things, so accepting them with a shrug is never an option,” Mr. Scholz said. “We are not going to take it, and we, the decent and reasonable, are the majority” in Germany, he added.

Later, on Sunday, thousands protested against the violence in Berlin and Dresden. At the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, politicians from mainstream parties and members of civil society gave speeches denouncing the assaults.

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