Munich (dpa / lby) - More and more politicians in Bavaria are victims of hatred, threats and violence.
The number of politically motivated crimes against officials and mandate holders literally exploded in the past Corona year and more than tripled compared to the previous year.
835 such crimes were counted, as the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior announced at the request of the German Press Agency in Munich.
Only 272 such cases were reported in 2019, 232 in the previous year and only 194 in 2017.
"The significant increase in 2020 is worrying, even if part of the increase is certainly due to an increased willingness to report," said a ministry spokesman.
“From our point of view, it is very important that such acts are reported.
Only then can the investigative authorities intervene immediately to protect the victims and prosecute the perpetrators. "
Since last year, threatened or insulted local politicians in Bavaria have been able to file a complaint directly in an online process.
The reports are then checked by Bavaria's hate speech officer, Chief Public Prosecutor Klaus Dieter Hartleb.
In recent months, more and more local politicians have been exposed to direct hostility and even death threats online.
A non-representative survey conducted by the Bavarian Association of Cities among dozen mayors in 2020 showed that around 80 percent of elected officials have already experienced insults online.
Almost half of the respondents have already received anonymous threats in the form of e-mails or letters, and around one in three has already been threatened via social media.
As a result, the parties even experienced problems in finding people interested in local political offices and mandates.
A particularly blatant case is currently being heard before the Munich Higher Regional Court.
A suspected neo-Nazi terrorist is on trial there - among other things because she is said to have sent death threats to two local politicians and prepared an arson attack.
On the second day of the trial, the two men - a district administrator and a mayor from Franconia - vividly described their experiences in court. Both had received a macabre condolence card and ammunition for a pistol and had received threatening phone calls. The mayor had said on the witness stand that “democracy should declare war on enemies of the state”. He has already asked himself, "How much public can a small mayor still trust himself to be in order not to endanger himself and his family?" But that is the wrong question. The right one is how a society can ensure “that the public does not become a danger”.
Bavaria's Landtag President Ilse Aigner (CSU) recently condemned increasing brutality in society and criticized hatred and agitation against politicians.
"During the pandemic, hatred and agitation increased again significantly," she said.
Local politicians are particularly affected.
“We have to take it all the more seriously when so-called death lists are circulating on the Internet that MPs“ release to be shot down ”.
And that's because their voting behavior is not accepted in parliaments, ”said Aigner.
It is no longer about individual cases, but about a political and social climate.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210508-99-515850 / 3