People gather in Hanau, in the aftermath of the racist killings that struck this city of 100,000 inhabitants near Frankfurt. - PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP
In the aftermath of the racist shootings in Hanau, in which nine people were killed, Thursday evening was the time for meditation in Germany, faced with an increasingly heavy threat from the far right.
In Hanau, near Frankfurt, but also Hamburg, Berlin, as in fifty other cities, thousands of people were gathered Thursday evening against hatred.
The "poison" of racism
“This attack caused a shock to me. Because of its history, Germany must be an example for Europe and the world ”, explained to AFP Patrick Knopke, 36, who came to meditate in Berlin, in front of the legendary Brandenburg Gate. The demonstrators formed a human chain there.
In Hanau, thousands of people gathered Thursday evening in silence, in the presence of the President of the Republic Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "Show solidarity!" Urged the head of state.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel had previously denounced the “poison” of racism, linking it to other far-right attacks in the country for 20 years after these attacks carried out by a German with “xenophobic motivations”.
Five Turks killed
The alleged assailant, Tobias R., 43, was found dead in his apartment, as was his mother, who was shot dead, bringing the total to 11 dead, including nine in the two shootings.
The victims, some of whom are of foreign origin or nationality, were between 21 and 44 years old, according to the prosecution. Five Turks were among the victims, a close adviser to Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Thursday evening. A Bosnian and a Bulgarian were also killed in the double shooting.
The search for possible complicity
The anti-terrorist prosecution seeks to determine whether the author was able to benefit from accomplices in carrying out these attacks, the motive of which is "deeply racist".
Wednesday evening, a hookah bar, the Midnight, had been targeted by gunfire in the center of Hanau, a city of nearly 100,000 inhabitants 20 kilometers from Frankfurt, before the shooter won a second establishment, the Arena by car. Bar in the outskirts of Kesselstadt. The assailant rang the doorbell of the second bar and shot people in the smoking area, killing five, including a woman, according to reports by Bild.
"I knew the people who were in this bar well (...) It could have been me," Ahmed, a 30-year-old resident of the neighborhood, told AFP. "I don't understand, we don't have problems related to racism here," said another neighbor.
Among those killed are "several victims of Kurdish origin," said the Confederation of Kurdistan Communities in Germany (Kon-Med), accusing German leaders of not "resolutely fighting far-right terrorism".
24-page manifesto left by terrorist
The alleged perpetrator, who trained as a banking advisor and then studied management, left behind a 24-page video and manifesto, which AFP was able to consult. He called there to "annihilate" the population of at least 24 countries, including those of the Maghreb, the Middle East, Israel or even South Asia, advancing racialist theses while ensuring being monitored from the childhood by a "secret organization".
Investigators also found ammunition and magazines in his car. The suspect was practicing sport shooting, according to initial elements of the investigation.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, who laid wreaths on the affected sites with his Justice colleague Christine Lambrecht, has promised further action in the coming days.
12,700 individuals deemed "dangerous"
The threat of far-right terrorism is increasingly worrying German authorities, particularly since the murder of a pro-migrant German elected representative, a member of Chancellor Merkel's party, last June.
On Friday, 12 members of a far-right group were arrested. They are suspected of having planned large-scale attacks on mosques.
In October, a right-wing extremist Holocaust denier had attempted to carry out an attack in a synagogue in Halle, a massacre being only barely avoided. However, he had shot a passerby and the client of a kébab restaurant, broadcasting his packages live on the internet.
In her speech, Angela Merkel also mentioned the murders of nine people of immigrant origin and of a policewoman committed between 2000 and 2007 by the neo-Nazi trio "Clandestinité nationale-socialiste" (NSU). The affair had been overwhelming for the police, who had stubbornly followed the false track of "community settling of scores", but also for the internal intelligence services, supposed to have clues in neo-Nazi circles.
More than 12,700 right-wing extremists deemed "dangerous" are listed by the German authorities.
Double shooting in Germany: Should we worry about the tense political climate in Germany?
- Far right