A far-right German politician, Mario Kumpf, an AfD regional deputy in Saxony, was punched in the face in a supermarket on Wednesday afternoon in the eastern town of Ebersbach-Neugersdorf. This marks three physical attacks on politicians in Germany, after the attacks suffered by the social democratic MEP Matthias Ecke in Dresden and the vice mayor of Berlin, also a social democrat Franziska Giffey, in the capital. Ecke was seriously injured in the face, and had to undergo surgery; and Giffey was slightly injured.

The attacker, a 53-year-old man, went shopping after hitting Kumpf in the supermarket parking lot, the police said in a police statement on Thursday. Ebersbach-Neugersdorf is a city of 12,000 inhabitants in the land of Saxony. Kumpf himself called the police after the attack, and officers arrested the man and charged him with assault. The State Security Agency, which deals with politically motivated crimes, has taken over the investigation. 

In a message on Facebook, the attacked Kumpf said that, apart from headaches and jaw pain, he is fine. “No one should fear for his physical integrity because he represents an ‘inconvenient’ opinion to others or because he does not fit. At this point, I would like to make it clear again that I firmly reject violence as a means of communication. That is why I promote a respectful, mutual and peaceful resolution of disputes,” the ultra politician wrote.

Mario Kumpf, 38, has been a deputy in the Parliament of Saxony since 2019, which holds elections on September 1. In the elections in this eastern land, the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) leads the polls with 34%.

The series of physical attacks or harassment of politicians in Germany has raised alarm bells in the coalition government of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals of Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Following the attack on Matthias Ecke, the Minister of the Interior, the social democrat Nancy Faeser, met with the heads of the Interior of the länder to address the issue of violence against politicians.

According to data from the Executive, environmentalist politicians are the most attacked and harassed, with 1,219 attacks last year, followed by far-right politicians, with 478 attacks, and social democrats, with 420. Faeser said that in 2023, acts of violence against elected officials increased by 53% compared to 2022 and spoke of an “escalation of antidemocratic violence.”

Faeser also announced an agreement to promote a tightening of the Penal Code to more harshly punish acts of violence or harassment against figures in public life and to speed up these judicial processes, although to launch this initiative he must first reach a consensus with the Minister of Justice, the liberal Marco Buschmann.