Right-wing crimes in Germany up by a quarter in 2023, data shows

BERLIN (Reuters) - Crimes motivated by right-wing ideology rose by nearly a quarter in Germany last year, statistics released by the Interior Ministry showed on Tuesday.

A total of 28,945 such crimes were recorded in the country last year, a rise of 23.21% compared to 2022, the data showed. The figure comprises mainly propaganda offences, damage to property, insults, incitement to hatred, coercion or threats and violations of assembly rules.

The publication of the figures follows a spate of attacks on politicians in the last few weeks in an increasingly polarised climate, including one that sent a member of the European Parliament to hospital with serious injuries.

Crimes motivated by left-wing ideology were also up compared to 2022, by 11.48%, with a total of 7,777 offences recorded last year, the data showed.

According to the report, violent crimes motivated by right- or left-wing ideologies increased in roughly equal measure in 2023 - by 8.55% and 8.79% respectively.

The data underline what politicians have described as an increased propensity towards political violence in Germany, motivated in part by a discourse that has shifted to the right.

Support for the far-right AfD has surged in the last year, taking it to second place in most national opinion polls. However, it has been hit by revelations about a meeting where senior members discussed deportations of non-ethnic German citizens and by the arrest of an aide to an AfD European lawmaker on suspicion of spying for China.

(Writing by Friederike Heine, Editing by Madeline Chambers)