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German far-right AfD candidate attacked with knife in Mannheim

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DPA/The Local - [email protected]
German far-right AfD candidate attacked with knife in Mannheim
A police officer in Germany. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marcus Brandt

According to the far-right AfD party, a council candidate was attacked with a cutter knife on Tuesday in the second recent attack to take place in the German town of Mannheim.

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The attack on the council candidate took place on 10:45pm on Tuesday evening, police confirmed to DPA on Wednesday.

"In Mannheim, our local council candidate Heinrich Koch was injured with a knife while confronting people destroying a poster," the AfD's national co-leader Tino Chrupalla said on X, formerly Twitter.

Koch was being treated for his wounds after the incident, which took place on Tuesday, the head of the AfD's branch in the region of Baden-Württemberg, Emil Sänze, told AFP.

A 25-year-old suspect has been arrested but showed no signs of knowing that the victim, Heinrich Koch, was an AfD politician, police said.

The suspect showed "clear signs of mental illness" and was taken to a psychiatric hospital, police said, adding that there was currently "no concrete evidence that the suspect realised during the attack the victim was an AfD politician".

Koch was taken to hospital but his wounds were not life threatening, police said.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser condemned the "act of violence against a local AfD politician".

According to the AfD district association, the incident took place near the market square in the Rheinau district on Mannheim.

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The AfD council candidate allegedly caught a small group tearing down the party's campaign posters and confronted them. He was then attacked by one man with a cutter knife after a short altercation. 

According to the AfD, a total of three people were involved, but two managed to escape.

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In a video of the assault obtained by DPA and filmed by the injured council candidate, the AfD politician shouts, "Stop right there!" and chases after a young man carrying a set of AfD posters under his arm and what appears to be a box cutter.  

A scuffle breaks out and the young man appears to lunge at the politician. The rest of the images are blurred.

"Our members and representatives are the most common victims of political violence," AfD leader Chrupalla said.

The attacks "cannot stop us", he added. 

Political attacks

Several regions including Baden-Württemberg are holding municipal elections on June 9th, the same day as elections to the European Parliament.

The incident comes five days after a 25-year-old man attacked an anti-Islam rally on the market square in Mannheim, killing one and injuring five.

The attack was targeted an event on Friday organised by Pax Europa, a campaign group against radical Islam.

Five people attending the rally were injured, including far-right activist and blogger Michael Stürzenberger.

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A 29-year-old policeman who intervened in the incident was stabbed multiple times in the area of the head and died from his wounds on Sunday.

READ ALSO: Germany mulls expulsions to Afghanistan after knife attack

Germany has seen a spate of attacks on politicians at work or on the campaign trail ahead of EU elections.

Matthias Ecke, a European Parliament lawmaker for Scholz's SPD party, was set upon last month by a group of youths as he put up election posters in the eastern city of Dresden.

Days later, former Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey was hit on the head and neck with a bag as she visited a library in the capital.

With reporting by Sebastien Ash 

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