Germany: Acts of violence from left-wing extremists skyrocketed in 2020

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The number of violent acts committed by far-left extremists in 2020 skyrocketed compared to the previous year, according to data held by Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior (BMI).

The Federal Interior Ministry (BMI) released the data following a request from Linda Teuteberg, a member of the Bundestag for the Free Democratic Party (FDP), a classically liberal party focused mainly on promoting economic liberalism, privatization, and free markets. According to the statistics, 1,359 violent crimes committed by far-left extremists were recorded last year, 29 percent more than were seen in 2019 (1,052), German weekly magazine Junge Freiheit reports.

Documents released by the BMI also revealed that 9,973 far-left extremist crimes were identified and recorded last year, just over the 9,849 that were registered in the previous year.  

“In addition to the dynamic development of right-wing extremism and Islamism, the tendency in left-wing extremism to increasingly violent acts is also worrying. There is no ethical superiority of any variant of violent extremism and any trivialization of criminal activity as activism is prohibited,” Teuteberg told the German newspaper Die Welt.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) noted that an analysis carried out by the secret service in 2020 indicated that a clear trend toward radicalization in the far-left extremist scene had been observed. The same analysis, which was released last year, cautioned against the “emergence of terrorist structures within far-left extremist scene”.

“Serious physical injuries to the victims up to possible death are accepted approvingly,” the analysis reads.

Planned actions by left-wing extremist groups span from “mass militancy” to “clandestine small group actions”, while goals have shifted “more and more often from an institutional level to a personal level”. Previous cases have shown that victims are increasingly tracked down”‘specifically” and are attacked in their own homes or “personal spaces of refuge”.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Saxony has noted that the problem of violent left-wing extremism in the city of Leipzig is particularly concerning.

“The violence-oriented left-wing extremist scene is reaching a new level of escalation due to the criminal and violent acts it has committed,” the BfV Saxony reported.

Last November, a 25-year-old student named Lina E., who also happens to be a prolific far-left extremist in Leipzig, was arrested at her apartment in Connewitz. Immediately upon her arrest, she was flown by officers in a helicopter to Karlsruhe, where the judge overseeing her case issued the arrest warrant.

The 25-year-old student is accused of membership in a criminal organization, dangerous communal bodily harm, particularly serious breach of the public peace, including serious trespassing, robbery, property damage, and forgery of documents. 

Germany has not seen federal authorities go in and arrest prominent left-wing extremist figures since the days of the Red Army Faction (RAF) – a far-left militant extremist organization which engaged in bombings, kidnappings, bank robberies, and assassinations mainly in the 1970s.

Investigators consider Lina E. to be a member of a left-wing extremist criminal organization that rejects the “existing democratic constitutional state”.

Earlier this month, an arson attack was carried out against the state registration authority in Braunschweig, Lower Saxony. Those investigating the case presume that the perpetrators have a left-wing extremist background.


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