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Politicians decry racially motivated attack on young girls in Germany

In World
June 16, 2024

There has been condemnation of an attack in northern Germany that resulted in a Ghanaian girl and her father being injured.

According to initial police findings, an 8-year-old Ghanaian girl and her 10-year-old sister were attacked by a group of around 20 teenagers and young adults. The 8-year-old and her father, who intervened, were taken to hospital with injuries described as mild.

The attack took place on Friday evening in the town of Grevesmühlen in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The attackers are said to have kicked the younger girl in the face. When the children’s parents intervened, a fight broke out.

Police arrive on scene as taunts reportedly continue

When the police arrived on the scene, one person from the group is said to have hurled racist insults at the victims as they were leaving.

The police are now investigating a breach of the peace, grievous bodily harm, incitement of hatred and insult. Officers are looking for witnesses to the incident. They took down names after arriving on the scene and some of these people are possible suspects, a spokesman for the police operations control centre told dpa.

Mayor speaks of “bottomless hatred”

Grevesmühl Mayor Lars Prahler told German public radio station NDR 1 Radio MV that he was shocked at the violence.

“This racially motivated offence simply leaves me stunned. It shows bottomless hatred and uninhibited inhumanity and cannot be excused.” The fact that they were teenagers is also no excuse, he said.

Prahler expressed his sympathy to the girls’ family and announced that he would contact them in the near future.

The local town festival on Saturday is to go ahead despite the incident. “Because we don’t want to let such actions by marginalized groups dictate how we want to live together as a city society,” the mayor said.

“I believe we are living in very difficult times right now, where complex problems are out in the open and those who use dull slogans and simple solutions can snag people,” said Prahler. It is time for the majority of society, which opposes society sinking into racist imagery, to make its voice heard and set an example, he said.

State politicians say no place for racism in society

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Premier Manuela Schwesig wrote on X: “The injured girl is 8 years old – as young as my daughter. We must not allow hatred and hate speech to poison our society and violence to threaten our children.”

State Interior Minister Christian Pegel condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms. “You don’t attack people, especially not children, and certainly not for racist motives,” he said on Saturday.

Politicians call for young people to find the perpetrators

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern’s Integration Commissioner Jana Michael spoke on Saturday of a “despicable and shocking act.” She appealed to the members of the youth group to name the perpetrators and not to remain silent due to peer pressure.

“Every witness who remains silent is complicit and prevents the investigation of this disgusting violence against children.”

The district administrator of Northwest Mecklenburg, Tino Schomann, spoke of an intolerable crossing of a red line.

“Despicable acts like this leave me speechless”. There is no place for violence in the district. “Acts like this are a disgrace. To attack the weakest members of our society from within a group can hardly be surpassed in cowardice!”

Nikolaus Kramer, leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) parliamentary group, which is strongly opposed to immigration, also condemned the attack.

“This brutal lack of restraint towards children is appalling and must be consistently punished. There is nothing to excuse or trivialize here!”

Many in Germany blame the AfD for increased tensions over immigration and the tone of the debate.

Left-wing domestic politician Michael Noetzel said, “What the hell is going on in our federal state? The racist attack in Grevesmühlen cannot be surpassed in its vileness.” He was at a loss for words in the face of such a cruel and cowardly act.

“Not only in Grevesmühlen, but also in Schwerin, Rostock and other places in the state, racist and Nazi perpetrators apparently feel increasingly emboldened and authorized to strike.”

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