Police in Düsseldorf have opened an investigation into an incident earlier this week that saw a young election campaigner working for the sovereignist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party hospitalized after he and two colleagues were assaulted by a lone attacker.
The three young men, two of whom are members of the AfD youth organization Junge Alternative, had been hanging campaign posters in Düsseldorf’s city center in the late afternoon hours on Monday when an unknown assailant attacked them, injuring one of the young men so severely that he required immediate hospitalization, Junge Freiheit reports.
Prior to the attack, the perpetrator is said to have threatened to stab the three young men as they affixed posters in the neighborhood, ahead of the North Rhine-Westphalian state elections which are set to take place on May 15th.
Fortunately, the two other young men were lucky to escape from the assault relatively unscathed, suffering only minor injuries. While speaking with Junge Freiheit following the assault, one of the victims said: “We’ve often put up posters together, but we’ve never had such an aggressive resident.”
Düsseldorf AfD district spokesman Wolf-Rüdiger Jörres has condemned the brazen act of political violence, announcing that the party would employ “all legal means of self-defense” to protect its election campaign staff moving forward.
On Tuesday, a police spokeswoman announced that the unknown suspect had been charged with dangerous bodily harm, adding that the state’s security services had opened an investigation into the matter.
The attack comes a little over a month after Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior released figures which revealed that, for the third consecutive year, members and politicians from the AfD were victimized by political violence more frequently than those of any other party represented in the Bundestag.