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Neo-Nazis attack African man in Viersen

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12:41 CEST+02:00
An African man was assaulted on Saturday night in Viersen, in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, in what appears to have been a neo-Nazi racist attack.

Police in Mönchengladbach said on Sunday that the 34-year-old man was assaulted by four unknown suspects in a pedestrian zone, who threatened him with knives and an iron rod. The suspects beat the man with a construction beam and fled the scene.

Police said they are looking for men with shaved heads and bomber jackets.

The victim suffered minor injuries.

The attack comes after an announcement in March by Uwe-Karsten Heye, former German government spokesman and a co-founder of Gesicht Zeigen!, an organization working against right-wing violence, who said that 2007 was a new "negative record" year, with some 600 injuries attributed to racist attacks. Since German reunification in 1990, Heye said 130 asylum seekers, immigrants, and homeless people have been killed in such crimes by right-wing extremists.

The incident also coincides with a statements made by North Rhine-Westphalia's head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hartwig Möller, on Sunday about the 15th anniversary of a deadly right-wing extremist fire attack in Solingen. Two women and three children of Turkish origin were killed in May of 1993 when four young men set fire to their home.

“We don't have such terrible attacks in North Rhine-Westphalia any more, but more than 120 people are victims of right-wing attacks each year. That is unacceptable,” he told news agency DDP.

Möller said that extremist groups attempting to insert their ideology into mainstream society are particularly dangerous.

“They subtly tie themselves to the worries of the citizens over too many immigrants and foment prejudice and hate against their foreign neighbors,” Möller said.

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