Far-left activists attack German anti-euro party leader at election rally

BERLIN Sat Aug 24, 2013 3:55pm EDT

Related Topics

BERLIN Aug 24 (Reuters) - A group of far-left radicals attacked a leader of Germany's new anti-euro party at a campaign rally in the northern city of Bremen on Saturday, pushing him to the ground, the party said.

One campaign worker was cut by a knife and 16 people suffered breathing problems after roughly 25 hooded activists attacked them with pepper spray, police said. No one, however, had to go to hospital for treatment, a Bremen police spokeswoman said. Officers arrested three people, she said.

Far-left activists have attacked Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) members several times over the last two months. Polls show the party, launched in April, is unlikely to win sufficient votes to enter parliament in the Sept. 22 vote in which Chancellor Angela Merkel is tipped to win a third term, due partly to her handling of the euro zone debt crisis.

Although Germans resent footing the bill for bailouts for countries such as Greece, they appreciate Merkel's tough stance towards struggling euro zone states and broadly back the euro.

The AfD, whose main policy is a dismantling of the euro, rejects accusations some members have ties to the far-right.

Bernd Lucke, the joint AfD leader and spokesman who was attacked, said in a statment, "It is an intolerable assault on the democratic process that violent activists disturb peaceful AfD election events, which has echoes of the Weimar Republic."

FILED UNDER: