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2020 saw highest levels of right-wing extremist crime since records began

2020 saw highest levels of right-wing extremist crime since records began

2020 saw highest levels of right-wing extremist crime since records began

On Tuesday, the official statistics on politically motivated crimes in Germany were released. According to the statistics, the number of recorded crimes motivated by right-wing extremism has reached its highest point since records began.

Extremist crime on the rise in Germany

Germany’s Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, revealed the official statistics for politically motivated crimes in Germany for 2020 on Tuesday. Right-wing extremist crimes were particularly prevalent last year, with 23.064 recorded crimes considered to be motivated by right-wing extremism. This amounts to a 5,7 percent increase compared to the previous year, and the highest number of far-right crimes since records began back in 2001.

The statistics also show that the majority of politically motivated, violent crimes were committed by right-wing extremists, like the shooting in Hanau in which 11 people were killed. "The increase in violent crimes by 18,8%, to a total of 3.365 incidents, is particularly bad," Seehofer said. "This shows what I've been saying since the beginning of my time in office, that right-wing extremism is the biggest threat for security in our country, since the majority of racist crimes are committed by people from within this spectrum."

Overall, the number of politically motivated crimes increased by 8,5 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year. Seehofer described the data as very concerning, as it represents a growing trend. Despite this, the number of politically motivated crimes only accounts for around one percent of all crimes committed in the country.

Coronavirus crimes

The protests organised by the “Querdenker" (anti-lockdown) movement were closely associated with politically motivated criminal incidents. According to Seehofer, police had found it hard to distinguish between civil protestors, who were exercising their democratic right to protest, and extremists who also took part in the demonstrations.

Accordingly, around 3.500 crimes were associated with the Querdenker protests, 500 of which were violent. Furthermore, there were 1.260 crimes against journalists reported in 2020, with 112 of them being associated with the protests against the restrictions aimed at controlling coronavirus in Germany.

The spokesperson for the Committee on Internal Affairs, Konstantin Kuhle, has since said that right-wing extremists are using the coronavirus protests as a way to further their ideologies. "It appears that right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists are using the pandemic to spread their theories, to spread hatred. And we've been seeing this all around Germany in the last weeks and months," he said. He called on protestors to distance themselves from right-wing extremists and criminal activity.

Rise in far-left crimes

The statistics also showed a significant rise in crimes borne from left-wing extremism, with the number of crimes rising by 11 percent and the number of violent crimes increasing by 45 percent. Seehofer noted that left-wing extremists have been committing a high number of “confrontational crimes,” such as taking part in counter-demonstrations. Seehofer said that his ministry would keep an eye on left-wing extremism, despite the focus on combatting right-wing extremism.

William Nehra

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William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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