The Bremen chairman of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Frank Magnitz, is battling for his life after sustaining a gaping wound to his head following an attack by three unknown assailants.
Magnitz was rushed to the hospital on Monday night after suffering a serious head injury following a “politically-motivated attempted assassination,” Bremen AfD said in a statement, posting a graphic image of the injured chairman.
Armed with wooden sticks, the three men beat the politician repeatedly on the head and kicked him while he was already on the ground until a construction worker saw the assault and tried to intervene. According to the statement, the attack took place immediately after Magnitz left the New Year’s reception near Bremen’s Goetheplatz.
“Today is a black day for democracy in Germany,” the AfD said, noting that Magnitz remains in serious condition. “He was beaten half dead,” AfD national spokesman Jörg Meuthen wrote on Twitter, calling the assault a “cowardly and disgusting plot.”
As police continue their hunt for the attackers, German politicians have begun condemning the brutality of the incident. “I hope the perpetrators will soon be investigated & sentenced,” said Germany’s Green party MP, Cem Özdemir, adding that there is no justification for violence “even against the AfD.”
Authorities have yet to determine the motives behind the attack, but with its growing popularity, the opposition AfD party has become a target of increasing criticism and attacks over its anti-immigration and other ultraconservative policies. Just last week, the party’s Doebeln office in the eastern state of Saxony was targeted by an explosion, which the AfD leadership denounced as an attack on democracy.
The Alternative for Germany became a major political force in Germany in 2017, when the party won 12.6 percent of the vote in federal elections, entering the Bundestag for the first time with 94 seats