In 2013, the police counted more crimes motivated by left-wing extremism than in the previous year. CDU and FDP see this as a failure of the Senate.
Hamburg’s police encounter people with parsley, toilet brushes and militant thoughts. Picture: dpa
"Testify" called Interior Senator Michael Neumann (SPD) on Monday the presentation of the current report on the protection of the constitution. And the largest space this time took the left-wing extremist-motivated crimes. They increased last year: in 2013, police recorded 297 crimes, compared with 138 the previous year. The number of violent crimes recorded was 187, about three times as high as in 2012.
"The most outstanding and difficult event was the demonstration by the left-wing scene on December 21," said Manfred Murck, outgoing state head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The increase in numbers was mainly due to the riots before and after this demo, he said.
"The mobilization was the real event here," Murck said, because overall the number of recorded left-wing extremists was 1,120, namely as high as in 2012. But the "sympathizer network" was better connected last year, he added.
Surprising mass militancy
For example, he said, the Rote Flora succeeded in attracting nationwide attention and mobilizing some 2,000 people from outside the city for the Dec. 21 demonstration alone. "Mass militancy was the desired form of expression," Murck said. He said the left-wing scene had played to the front and that would be taken into account.
"From my perception, it was surprising that the situation escalated so much on Dec. 21," Neumann said. He had perceived it in the course of his tenure that the relationship with the Rote Flora and the left-wing scene had rather relaxed. "But December was probably more of an exception," Neumann said.
Nevertheless, the left-wing scene will again come more into focus. In response to the question of whether the Red Florists and their political environment will now be monitored more closely, Murck said that it would be necessary to "do a bit of follow-up".
The CDU and FDP are not so relaxed about it. "Without a clear concept against leftists, the security of all citizens suffers and the police are put in dangerous situations," said Kai Voet van Vormizeele (CDU). The Senate leaves the police alone in the fight against left-wing extremism.
And Carl Jarchow (FDP) added: "Especially the number of violent acts against life and limb has just exploded." This proves, he says, that the SPD Senate has ignored left-wing extremist-motivated violence for years.
Antje Moller of the Green Party sees the problem more in the fact that all alliances that criticize the Senate’s policies are immediately suspected of extremism. Crimes that take place in the vicinity of gatherings on topics such as refugee policy, gentrification or the danger zones continue to be attributed in principle to the left-wing extremist spectrum.
North Korea and the USA
Senator Neumann will probably receive unusual approval from the left-wing scene for a slide in the presentation of the report on the protection of the constitution, on which the USA and Great Britain are mentioned together with Iran, Morocco, Russia, Syria, China and North Korea as targets of counterintelligence.
"I never dreamed we would have to look at that side as well," he said. But Edward Snowden’s revelations about U.S. intelligence agency NSA spying have "sown the seeds of doubt" and he doesn’t know "if they are still friends." On security issues, he said, cooperation with the U.S. and the U.K. would be "very difficult, if not impossible," in the future.