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German rescue worker. Photo supplied

Attacks on rescue teams in Germany on the rise

Rescue workers have been increasingly targeted for years. The attacks on German police and rescue teams have been steadily increasing since 2011.

Published: April 1, 2019, 9:13 am

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    There were 33 296 attacks on police and paramedics in 2011, while 40 379 such cases were registered six years later. The figures were obtained after a request by AfD member of parliament Stephan Brandner.

    The increase in attacks from 2015 to 2016 is particularly striking, when the number grew by almost 4 000 incidents to 40 263.

    Notably, the participation of non-German suspects increased during the period from 19,8 percent to 30,5 percent. Brandner called the numbers alarming and stressed that within six years the proportion of foreigners as suspects had increased by 54 percent, noting “a share of foreigners that constitute only 11,7 percent of the total population”. Accordingly, their numbers have increased from 5 746 alleged perpetrators in 2011 to 10 794 today.

    Last January, the judiciary sought to address this growing problem in North Rhine-Westphalia and three specially created departments have since been handling such cases.

    At the beginning of 2018, the leader of the AfD parliamentary group, Alice Weidel, asked police, firefighters, paramedics and doctors to publish attacks on them in order to break the silence on the issue.

    But some people would rather not break the silence. Sandro Witt, the head of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) in Thuringia, has meanwhile complained that Brandner was allowed to speak to a class of school children.

    Via Twitter, Witt said: “AfD MdB Brandner alone in front of a school class in Erfurt-Kerspleben? That does not work. What’s wrong with this school?”

    Witt presented three photos showing AFD Bundestag member Brandner sitting and talking in front of a school class. Witt copied and distributed the photos from Brandner’s website together with his own statements.

    “I do not know who is the teacher who has let Mr Brandner in there,” said Witt, who is also chairman of the Mobile Consultation (Mobit) in Thuringia against “right-wing extremism”.

    “That’s completely wrong. What teaching ability does Mr Brandner have? The pictures suggest that Mr Brandner teaches and speaks directly to the students. We’re talking about children who may have been taken by surprise.”

    Wit said “indoctrination” was “incompatible with the role of the teacher in a democratic society and the goal of nuturing the student’s maturity”.

    The Thuringian Ministry of Education has not respnded to Witt’s accusations yet. Brandner, a lawyer, responded to the attack by saying it was “common for politicians to go to school classes.

    He is the chairman of the Legal Committee of the German Bundestag. The Federal Government had expressed the wish that politicians visit schools on the occasion of and in preparation for Europe Day, which is celebrated annually in early May.

    He had therefore contacted many schools in Thuringia with the request for a visit, said Brandner. “The community school in Erfurt-Kerspleben was the only one that responded.”

    In two grades, the tenth and eighth, he gave lectures in the presence of the teacher about Europe, explaining about the ancient Greeks, about Roman law, the church, the Enlightenment, wars and over 70 years of peace.

    “Afterwards the students asked me: Which party are you from?” Brandner said, “AfD”.

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