INTERNATIONAL

‘Far-right terrorism is biggest threat to democracy in Germany’

Thomas Haldenwang  

Far-right terrorism and extremism are the biggest danger facing democracy in Germany today, the domestic intelligence agency chief said on Thursday, after the country was hit by several extremist attacks in recent months.

The most radical right-wingers number 32,000 in the country, said BfV chief Thomas Haldenwang, adding that 13,000 are considered potentially violent.

“Right-wing extremism and right-wing terrorism are currently the biggest danger for democracy in Germany,” he said at a press conference.

His agency also placed under formal surveillance the far-right AfD party’s most radical faction Flüegel (The Wing), which now has about 7,000 members.

Founded in 2013, the AfD has grown and shifted further right over the last seven years. Railing against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to keep Germany’s borders open to refugees, the AfD has increased its support base. It is now the largest opposition group in the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of Parliament.

The AfD’s most radical wing, the Flüegel, was founded by far-right firebrand Bjoern Hoecke, who has sparked outrage with statements on Germany’s Nazi past.