German police: Assailants beat far-right lawmaker unconscious

German police: Assailants beat far-right lawmaker unconscious”

AfD spokesman Jörg Meuthen tweeted a gruesome photograph of an unconscious Magnitz with a large, bloody gash on his forehead and a severely swollen right eye.

AfD's party leaders Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel called Magnitz's assault a "result of the incitement to hatred by politicians and media against us".

Frank Magnitz, leader in Bremen of the anti-immigration populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD), was badly injured in the assault in the city centre on Monday afternoon.

"This is the result of the ostracism and agitation AfD faces", he said, suggesting other German political parties were partly responsible for the attack because they had compared the AfD to Adolf Hitler's Nazi party.

Police detained three men during the course of the probe over the blast, but all were later released due to a lack of evidence to keep them in custody.

AfD stated that they are shocked and are calling on the police to find the perpetrators, they refer to as terrorists.

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said there was "absolutely no justification" for the use of violence despite political differences. "Whoever carries out such a crime has to be punished accordingly".

The party is expected to make gains in European elections in May and three regional polls in the former communist east later this year.

Last week an AfD office in the eastern town of Döbeln was damaged in an explosion.

The Alternative for Germany became a major political force in Germany in 2017, when the party won 12.6 percent of the vote in federal elections, entering the Bundestag for the first time with 94 seats.

Mr Magnitz, 66, had just left a new year reception in Bremen's Kunsthalle art museum when he was attacked in the city's Goetheplatz as he walked to a central vehicle park. The far-right, anti-immigration party has been branded racist and neo-Nazi by its critics, though supporters say they are patriots standing up for traditional German values.

Johannes Kahrs, an MP from the Social Democrats, junior partners in the ruling coalition, said "violence is never acceptable" and "extremism in any form is rubbish".

Cem Ozdemir of the opposition Greens party said he hoped those responsible could be "found and convicted soon" and, even against a far-right party, "nothing justifies violence".

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