Since Monday, the global far-right has been in an uproar about an alleged attack on German politician Frank Magnitz, who is part of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, in the city of Bremen.
In the initial version of events, Magnitz claimed he was set upon by three assailants on Monday night, who brutally assaulted him with a wooden board and kicked him on the ground, leaving him unconscious with a deep gash on his forehead. His party colleagues then quickly proceeded to blame the far-left for the attack, which Magnitz supported.
The event understandably triggered outrage among the far-right both within Germany and further afield. Jörg Meuthen, the federal chair of AfD, described it as an “assassination attempt.” Former Infowars correspondent Paul Joseph Watson tweeted a video of AfD’s leader Alice Weidel that the “assassination attempt” had been incited by the media, and the Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft also got in on the act. News of the attack was also popular on far-right hangouts like 4chan’s /pol/ and Reddit’s r/The_Donald.
Now, however, German prosecutors have cast doubt on Magnitz’s version of events. A spokesman told German media that CCTV footage showed Magnitz being elbowed once before falling down, and there was no evidence that he was also kicked on the ground nor that he had been attacked with a wooden board.
Despite setting up a special commission to investigate the attack, German police have yet to unearth any evidence that the attack was politically motivated. Magnitz himself, in a conversation with Berliner Morgenpost, also conceded that the attack might have been a robbery, although claimed it is “not very likely.”
AfD has become a topic of increasingly frenzied discussion and action in Germany ever since the 2017 elections, where they picked up 13 percent of the vote in the Bundestag (Parliament) and became the first far-right party in 65 years to have seats there. Since then, they have repeatedly come under fire for policies seen as draconian, including a plan to have children inform on teachers’ political leanings and political posters claiming schools should be “Islam free.” AfD were also supportive of violent far-right rallies last September in the city of Chemnitz, where foreigners were chased through the streets if they did not look German.
This poster for the upcoming Bavarian elections is: Wow. pic.twitter.com/caUveFxfMk
— Moira Weigel (@moiragweigel) September 7, 2018
In recent weeks, however, there has also been significant, and sometimes violent, pushback to AfD. A series of vandalism attacks against AfD offices in Saxony over the past few weeks have metastasized into more violent action. Last Thursday, a small bomb was detonated outside the AfD offices in the city of Döbeln, Saxony, which damaged the office as well as surrounding parked vehicles. No one was injured in the explosion.