Anti-Islam agitator Michael Stuerzenberger stabbed in livestreamed attack in Germany

Far-right figure wounded before police shoot and injure assailant in Mannheim

Armed police sealed off a market square in Mannheim, Germany, after the knife attack on Friday. AP
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An anti-Islam agitator was stabbed and injured in a knife attack in Germany on Friday.

Michael Stuerzenberger was one of several people wounded in the attack, which was caught on a live-streamed video.

Police shot and wounded the assailant in a market square in Mannheim, south-western Germany. There were no details about the severity of the injuries.

Mr Stuerzenberger was displaying anti-Muslim posters in the town square before the attack, which was described by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as "terrible".

"My thoughts are with the victims. Violence is absolutely unacceptable in our democracy. The perpetrator must be severely punished," Mr Scholz said.

The live stream was running on a channel called Eyes Open, which posts footage of anti-Islam rallies. The video appeared to have been deleted after the stabbing.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the background to the "dreadful crime" was being investigated.

"I am shocked and appalled by this violence in my city, which I condemn in the strongest terms," she said. "What is clear is that violence can never be a means of political debate."

The attack comes during an EU election campaign in which Germany has been rattled by a spate of violence. A candidate for the European Parliament was badly injured while putting up posters, while a former Berlin mayor was hit over the head in a library.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier last week said he was worried by the growing trend and said Germans "must never get used to violence in the battle of political opinions".

Far-right politicians have used the campaign to raise fears of Islamist extremism in Germany.

Mr Stuerzenberger is a prominent figure in the far right who once set up a branch of radical street movement Pegida.

In Mannheim, he was representing a group called Pax Europa that positions itself as being "against political Islam". The group said he had been taken to hospital after the attack and that a police officer was among the injured.

Domestic intelligence services have monitored Mr Stuerzenberger's activities after he called for "patriotic resistance" in Germany.

Updated: May 31, 2024, 2:54 PM