German domestic spy agency to step up scrutiny of right-wing AfD party – reports

German domestic spy agency to step up scrutiny of right-wing AfD party – reports
Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) is to ramp up its investigation into alleged extremist activities of the right-wing AfD party, putting some of its structures under limited surveillance.

The agency is expected to boost its work on monitoring public statements by the party's members and its links to extremist groups, German media reported on Tuesday.

While the whole party won't be placed under covert observation, its youth wing might be put under limited surveillance. Apart from that a faction within the organization linked to one of its regional leaders, Bjoern Hoecke, might also become a subject of scrutiny.

Hoecke is well known for his inflammatory remarks and has repeatedly got himself into trouble over Nazism-related controversies. The Alternative for Germany party even considered expelling Hoecke after he called the Holocaust monument in Berlin a “monument of shame in the heart of the capital,” yet the politician was ultimately spared.

The BfV is expected to hold a press briefing, potentially shedding more light on the action it's expected to take against the AfD. The party itself is also to weigh in on the domestic spies’ initiative later on Tuesday.

The AfD was founded back in 2013, swiftly gaining popularity through the criticism of the European Union and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s handling of the migrant crisis in the country. The party scored third in the 2017 general elections, holding 92 seats in the German Bundestag.

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