Germany reports record in politically motivated crime
Germany on Tuesday reported a new record in the number of politically motivated crimes last year as anger over government measures to curb the pandemic fuelled extremism.
The interior ministry and the BKA federal crime office tallied 55,048 offences with a political background -- the first time the total surpassed 55,000 and a 23-percent increase on 2020.
Nearly 22,000 of the unlawful acts were attributed to the right wing, down seven percent from the previous year, while around 10,000 were classed as leftist, an almost eight-percent decrease.
Another 21,340 cases could not be classified ideologically -- a figure that exploded by 147 percent -- most of which were linked to protests against state restrictions to fight the spread of coronavirus whose participants came from both ends of the political spectrum.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the new record underlined "how indispensable the work of the security authorities is in protecting our democracy".
She called far-right crime "the greatest extremist threat to our democracy", noting that 41 percent of victims of violent offences in Germany had been attacked by right-wing extremists.
Faeser said Germany was tackling the problem with "well-equipped security services, unyielding prosecution efforts and an active civil society".
German authorities also reported a more than 50-percent surge in crimes targeting victims' sexual orientation or identity.
The report also highlighted a nearly 29-percent jump in anti-Semitic crimes to 3,027 offences, the vast majority of which -- 2,552 -- were attributed to the far-right scene.
Faeser described the figure as a "disgrace for our country" given its historical responsibility for the Holocaust.
She called it "shameful" that some radical opponents of pandemic restrictions "trivialised" the Nazis' slaughter of the Jews by wearing yellow stars used in their World War II-era persecution.
"We are aware of our responsibility to fight anti-Semitism with everything in our power and to protect Jews," she said.