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5 Oct, 2023 18:09

‘No evidence’ opposition party leader attacked – German police

The AFD'S co-chair Tino Chrupalla was hospitalized after collapsing at a rally on Wednesday following an alleged assault
‘No evidence’ opposition party leader attacked – German police

German authorities have said there is “no evidence” of an attack on Alternative for Germany (AfD) co-chair Tino Chrupalla, who collapsed at a campaign event in Ingolstadt and was rushed to a hospital. The statement released on Thursday appeared to contradict the political party’s claims. 

At this time, there is no evidence that Mr. Chrupalla was tackled or attacked,” the Ingolstadt public prosecutor’s office and police said in their joint statement.

However, according to AfD, their leader was not “tackled.” Instead, they had described what befell him as a “violent incident.” It was later reported that he was injected with a syringe containing an unknown substance that resulted in anaphylactic shock.

The politician remains in intensive care at the hospital where he was taken in Ingolstadt, AfD officials confirmed on Thursday, with a party spokesperson adding that Chrupalla had a “puncture wound” and was being tested for “substances in his body.

Medical examinations conducted at the hospital confirmed a “surface-level redness on his arm as well as swelling,” according to the statement from police, which also claimed nothing suspicious was found during those examinations.

No needles or similar objects were recovered from the scene by police, other than two push-pins which they did not consider unusual in an area where political rallies were being held, local broadcaster Bayerische Rundfunk reported. 

Nor did Chrupalla’s personal security team witness any physical assault on the AfD leader, who was taking selfies with supporters before he collapsed, authorities said. They acknowledged that this activity involved some bodily contact and that the politician began to feel pain in his upper arm while approaching the stage to make his speech. He also reported other health issues, including difficulty walking, leading to his hospitalization, sources told public broadcaster ARD. 

AfD deputy leader Beatrix von Storch was targeted for attack in the context of taking a selfie with a supporter in August. A man pretending to be a fan smeared the lawmaker with dog feces at an event in Rhineland-Palatinate after cozying up for the photo.

Chrupalla’s AfD co-chair, Alice Weidel, canceled a campaign appearance in Bavaria-Thuringia on Tuesday for security reasons, following a threat of attack to her second home in Switzerland that required the relocation of her family with a police escort. 

While the right-wing populist party is enjoying a surge of popularity among the electorate, Berlin has shut it out of public media channels, declared its youth wing an extremist group, and even – through the state-funded German Institute for Human Rights – argued that it is a threat to democracy and should be legally prohibited from holding office. The AfD has argued those moves facilitate incidents such as those involving Chrupalla and von Storch.

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