New Year’s Eve: Attacks on German emergency services — left-wing extremists set fire to the car of journalist Gunnar Schupelius

Several police officers were injured in riots on New Year’s Eve in Leipzig’s left-wing Connewitz district. A 38-year-old official had to undergo emergency surgery in the hospital after losing consciousness in an attack.According to the Saxon police, “a group of violent criminals” from a crowd of around 1 000 people tried to “push a burning shopping trolley into the middle of a riot police unit and fired massive amounts at it with pyrotechnics”. In addition to the seriously injured officer, three other police officers suffered injuries. The LKA’s special commission “Soko LinX”, which specializes in left-wing extremism, is investigating the attempted murder. Nine people were temporarily arrested, but three were released on the same night. The police cordoned off the grounds at Connewitzer Kreuz in southern Leipzig. Saxony’s Interior Minister Roland Wöller (CDU) spoke of “targeted attacks on human life” and “serious crimes”, which would be persecuted with all severity of the rule of law. “It is frightening how unscrupulous people cause or accept serious injuries to people through obviously organized attacks,” said Police President Torsten Schultze. The parliamentarian Jule Nagel (Left Party) accused the police, however, of having “provoked” violence. On Twitter, she wrote: “Cops out of Connewitz gains a new meaning after the turn of the year. Disgusting police violence, overrun bystanders, confused maneuvers, calculated provocation.” 

The federal spokesman for the left-wing youth and Leipzig City Council, Michael Neuhaus, also criticized the actions of the officials on Twitter: “I get a dull feeling that an example had to be made of Connewitz from the start. What kind of state is it that is taking action against revelers on New Year’s Eve for political reasons?” In Berlin, where in addition to the party at the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz and the area around Pallasstrasse had been declared no firecracker zones for the first time, there were a total of 24 attacks on emergency services. In the immigrant district of Neukölln, a fire truck was attacked with fireworks and stones. Several people threatened to fire weapons and tried to open the cabin were the crew was. The fire brigade of the capital was “horrified” by the “negative highlight”. A man was arrested at Alexanderplatz who had fired at police officers with a firearm. In Charlottenburg, according to the Berlin police, “several young people” also fired “everything” at law enforcement. In the Mariendorf district, ambulance workers were pelted with firecrackers and several people sprayed irritant gas on the street in Wedding. In Kreuzberg, attackers destroyed the front window of a public transport bus. In Marienfelde, around 15 people fired rockets at vehicles and passers-by. Four women were sexually harassed on the central festival mile in front of the Brandenburg Gate – the perpetrators were arrested. Already on the night of December 31, the Berlin police and fire department had to go out repeatedly because of illegal firecrackers and several fires. In the west of the city, left-wing extremists set fire to the car of journalist and BZ columnist Gunnar Schupelius. “We torched his SUV today,” says a letter of confession on the website, in which the exact location of Schupelius’ apartment is alluded to in an disturbingly macabre manner (“… lives there with his children”). “Understand your immobile start to the new year as a strong suggestion for a new start away from Axel Springer”, the text concludes menacingly. The mainstream political response is nevertheless always the same: the potential dangers of the extreme left-wing scene in Germany are denied and relativized all year round, their followers as “activists” or “young people” and their horrendous acts are downplayed. As a result, the violence escalates and everyone becomes scared, outraged and affected. That was how it was after the violent riots at the opening of the ECB headquarters in Frankfurt am Main in 2015, how it was during the riot during the G7 summit in Hamburg in 2017, and now it is again after the street battles for New Year’s Eve in Leipzig Connewitz. The left-wing extremists there have not suddenly fallen from the sky, but have enjoyed an almost undisturbed existence for years and can sometimes even count on public funding. As a reminder: Just a few weeks ago, a police video made headlines showing how the civil servants in Leipzig in 2015 had to fight violent street battles with so-called autonomists in scenes similar to a civil war. Here anyone who wanted could see the brutality of the extreme left-wing mob. Like Berlin and Hamburg, Leipzig has long developed into one of the hotspots of the extreme left scene. There they feel strong, and police officers are declared unwanted persons who have no business in the neighborhood, as the rule of law is ignored. Politicians largely tolerate the violence, at least as long as the violence is directed exclusively against the law. Do not provoke the leftists, the motto seems to be, because after all, what will happen during the next anti-AfD demonstration? It is therefore quite cynical how SPD and Left Party politicians are currently trying to turn the tables and blame the police for the escalation. According to their reasoning, the mere presence of police officers is a “provocation”. While politicians from the left are busy with a perpetrator-victim reversal, most other parties half-heartedly reject it. So far, no statement has been heard from Saxony’s Justice Minister Katja Meier (Greens) in which she supports the police. But that might also be too much to ask of someone who played in a punk band in their youth who celebrated burning police cars in one of their lyrics. Meanwhile, her former party friend Jutta Ditfurth cheerfully speculated on Twitter that the emergency surgery on a police officer in Leipzig may not have been because he had been injured as badly as claimed, but that he may have just “stumbled”. And so the outrage about attacks on the police officers on the New Year’s Eve in Leipzig will probably quickly subside. Politics will return to the order of the day, Jutta Ditfurth will continue to be able to spread her crude views on public radio broadcasts, the left-wing extremist scene in Leipzig will once again get away with impunity and her supporters will continue to be welcome allies in the “fight against right” – until everyone wakes up in amazement after the next violent riot.

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