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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Germany Sees Increase in Crimes With Political or Racist Motives

BERLIN — Politically motivated violent crimes in Germany increased by nearly 18 percent in 2011, a year in which two U.S. airmen were killed by an Islamist extremist and a neo-Nazi cell identified as carrying out a series of previously unsolved murders of immigrants was uncovered.
Numbers released by the Interior Ministry on Friday showed an 11.2 percent overall increase to 30,216 of crimes carried out for political or ideological reasons across the country. More than 70 percent of the crimes involved groups on the extreme left or extreme right, and many were acts of vandalism during regional elections in several states last year.
While the circulation of illegal propaganda, which includes all printed material associated with the Nazis, remained the most common politically motivated crime, the number of racially motivated attacks grew by more than 16 percent.
Leading opposition members called for stronger government reaction against far-right extremists, who many say have slipped away from the scrutiny of security officials who are concentrated on threats from Islamists and the left spectrum.
“How horrifyingly high the level of violence is in the far-right scene is only now being realized,” Michael Hartmann, a security expert with the main opposition Social Democrats, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
A 14.8 percent jump in attacks against the police during demonstrations was also recorded.
The head of the country’s police union called on the government to take stronger action against those who attack officers during demonstrations. “It is no longer enough to simply distance ourselves from violence,” said Bernhard Witthaut.
A bright spot in the statistics was a 2.3 percent drop in the number of anti-Semitic attacks, which decreased for the second consecutive year.

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