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CRIME

Police union stokes fear of left-wing extremists

The German Police Union has warned of an increasingly violent extreme-left scene, which it claims is likely to start attacking politicians just as the now defunct Red Army Faction (RAF) did in the past.

Police union stokes fear of left-wing extremists
Scaring the police - a burned out car in Berlin Photo: DPA

Rainer Wendt, head of the union, told the website of daily paper Bild: “It is only a question of time before violent left-wingers attack a politician.”

He said the level of violence shown among left-wing activists was increasing. “The entire appearance of the new violent left-wing criminals is like the spirit of the RAF and their fight against the German state.”

But his comments were firmly contradicted by the Interior Ministry, from which a spokesman said: “There is no current knowledge of the existence of a left-wing terrorist organisation.”

He also said that, “Crimes with the aim of assassinating people,” were considered to be, “unlikely.”

But Wendt said he was convinced of the threat. “Those who do not stop at arson attacks on cars and houses, and throw Molotov cocktails at policemen, they see the lives of people as cheap,” he said.

He added that there were clear parallels to the RAF heydays in the 1970s. “The willingness to use violence, the hatred of the state and the social-revolutionary ideals of the violent left-wingers are the same,” he said. “And the methods such as arson attacks are the same as the RAF.”

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CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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