In a Facebook post last Saturday reacting to violent riots in Hamburg amid the G20 summit hosted there last week, Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania state parliamentarian Christel Weißig posted a comment that has since come in for harsh criticism.
“Looters will be immediately shot, why isn’t that allowed by us?” Weißig wrote.
AfD spokesman Henning Hoffgaard confirmed on Thursday that she had in fact written the message, which he said she deleted about five hours later – and after seeing the initial critical reactions to her statement.
Weißig declined to comment herself, deferring to the spokesman.
Hoffgaard explained that the 71-year-old had reacted very emotionally to the violence she saw in her city of birth.
“With a question formulated in an exaggerated way, she wanted to make people aware that the government is powerless in the face of this inhumane violence.”
But given that this isn’t the first time a member of the far-right party has hinted at shooting at certain people, her comments did not go over well with others outside the party.
AfD leader Frauke Petry told a newspaper last year that border police “should be able if need be to have recourse to their firearms – as laid down by law”.
“No policeman wants to fire on a refugee and I don't want that either. But as a last resort there should be recourse to firearms,” she said.
Shortly afterwards, when asked by a Facebook commenter whether female and child refugees should be denied entry into Germany “by armed force”, the party's deputy leader Beatrix von Storch answered “yes”.
Centre-left state SPD representative Jochen Schulte connected Weißig’s recent comments to those of Petry and von Storch.
“First they say refugees and their children should be shot at the borders, now they say extremists in Hamburg’s Schanzen district. Who is next?” Schulte said to broadcaster NDR, referring to the left-wing neighbourhood where many of the riots and much of the vandalism took place.
Interior affairs expert for Die Linke (the Left Party) Peter Ritter also expressed shock to NDR.
“After this statement, Ms Weißig will no longer be accepted by my faction as president by seniority,” Ritter declared, referring to her position as the oldest member of the state parliament.