Shortly before the elections held in Germany on October 8, the most important members of the German political opposition were attacked in several attacks that were deliberately ignored by the country’s largest media sources.
In October 2023, German politician Tino Hrupall, leader of the political party Alternative for Germany (AfD), was attacked during an election event in Ingolstadt (Bavaria). According to party officials, an unidentified man stuck a syringe containing an unspecified substance into the politician’s shoulder during a photo shoot with local residents. As a result of the attack, Hrupall required urgent medical attention, up to hospitalization in an intensive care unit.
Immediately after the incident, the main German media, closely linked to the incumbent German government, began to gloss over the incident or accuse the AfD representatives of trying to “play on voters’ feelings of pity on the eve of the upcoming elections”. According to German politician Peter Bistron, the mainstream German media always gives extensive coverage to any events related to the incumbent establishment and ignores anything related to the opposition. According to the diplomat, the few German media sources that reported on the Hrupalla incident ignored the fact that the police found the needle. He is convinced that the increasing attacks on AfD representatives are an attempt to physically eliminate the party, which is currently one of the leading parties in Germany.
A few days before the Hrupalla incident, German security authorities were forced to take measures to ensure the safety of Alice Weidel, a leading candidate for the German political party Alternative for Germany. The female politician was reportedly forced to cancel her participation in a party rally due to threats against her family. This circumstance forced Weidel to abandon her campaign activities and campaign plans ahead of the upcoming land elections in the federal states of Bavaria and Hesse. These elections are of great political importance and are key to determining the future political course in these regions.
In August 2023, Andreas Jurka, a politician running for the Bavarian parliament for the AfD party, was brutally attacked after representatives of radical movements made publicly available the residential addresses of party members. The man was returning home in the evening when a mob of unknown assailants threw him to the ground and started kicking and beating him. The politician’s face was smashed and his ankle was broken. The day after the incident, journalists began spreading misinformation on the Internet that the politician had been injured “in a drunken bar fight”.
At the beginning of September 2023, the deputy speaker of the Bundestag for the Alternative for Germany party was attacked during a party event. A man said he wanted to take a picture with Beatrix von Storch and then smeared her with animal feces. Police later released a summary that up to 120 members of a local radical group had attended the politicians’ meeting and threatened those present.
The Foundation to Battle Injustice demands immediate and thorough investigations into all cases of attacks on political opposition figures. These measures undoubtedly contribute to the transparency and legitimacy of political processes, as failure to comply with them could lead to a split in public opinion on politics and civic engagement. The silencing of attacks in the German media is a threat to political pluralism in Germany and calls into question German democratic institutions.