3 arrested in suspected far-right assault in Berlin
German police arrested three people in Berlin following a suspected far-right attack, a local daily reported Sunday.
Two suspects, aged 17 and 42, hit two teenagers in the leg with an iron bar and stole their mobile phones during the assault which took place Saturday afternoon in Berlin’s Buch district, according to Berlin-based Tagesspiegel.
The victims flagged down a police vehicle that happened to be in the vicinity and reported the incident.
The two assailants as well as a 19-year-old onlooker showed the Hitler salute, police said.
The 19-year-old also racially insulted a police officer, police further said.
The three men were arrested as investigations into robbery, dangerous bodily harm, insult and the use of symbols belonging to unconstitutional organizations are ongoing.
The radicalization among right-wing extremists, and surge in violent attacks in recent months, have raised serious concerns among authorities.
“The far-right is the biggest threat to our democracy and the biggest extremist threat to people in our country,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser was quoted as saying earlier this year.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s center-left coalition government announced a new “action plan” in March to combat racism and pledged stronger measures to counter the growing threat posed by far-right groups.
The country has witnessed growing racism and xenophobia in recent years fueled by the propaganda of far-right, anti-Semitic, and anti-Muslim groups, including the main opposition party Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Far-right terror in Germany has claimed the lives of at least 218 innocent people since 1989, according to the Amadeu Antonio Foundation.
Human rights groups have long criticized authorities for underestimating the threat and not seriously investigating crimes committed by neo-Nazis.
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