• Wednesday, 17 July 2024

Germany monitoring rising number of right-wing extremists

Germany monitoring rising number of right-wing extremists

Berlin, 12 June 2024 (dpa/MIA) — Germany's domestic intelligence service has said the number of right-wing extremists being monitored continues to grow, as the nation grapples with the aftermath of the European elections which saw Germany's far-right AfD party win second place.

"We are seeing a renewed increase in the number of violent right-wing extremists," the head of the domestic intelligence services, Thomas Haldenwang, told dpa.

His agency plans to present its annual report for 2023 next week.

An increase of about 14.5%, or 38,800 individuals, reported for 2022 has been mainly attributed to the fact that for the first time parts of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) are being monitored as a known right-wing extremist group.

According to the domestic intelligence agency, some 10,200 members of the party and its youth wing can be classified as right-wing extremists.

The recent rise in right-wing extremism, on the other hand, can be traced back to several, separate movements, Haldenwang said.

The domestic intelligence service classified the AfD as a suspected extremist group in March 2021. Since then, "right-wing extremist tendencies within the party have increased," Haldenwang said.

A higher regional court upheld the label on appeal last month, after the AfD had challenged the intelligence service's classification.

In Germany's eastern states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia the party's state-level groups have been classified as confirmed right-wing extremist.

The AfD's signature issue is a hard-line anti-immigration stance, and the party is profiting from increased concern among many German voters over the rising number of people seeking asylum in the country.

In the European elections on Sunday, the AfD placed second in recent European Parliament elections with 15.9%, the AfD's best nationwide result to date and ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's Social Democrats (SPD).