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Doubts cast on far-right MP Frank Magnitz assault

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Media captionCCTV footage shows the attack on AfD MP Frank Magnitz in Bremen

Authorities have released footage of an assault on German far-right MP Frank Magnitz, saying it contradicts his party’s account of what happened.

The leader of Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Bremen was attacked by at least three masked men in the centre of the northern city of Bremen on Monday.

AfD officials said he was knocked unconscious with a piece of wood and kicked on the ground.

But prosecutors said the footage of the assault told a different story.

Frank Passade, spokesman for the public prosecutor’s office, said the footage showed Mr Magnitz likely sustained his head injuries when he hit the ground, and not from being kicked on the ground.

Image copyright Polizei Bremen

A Bremen court ordered the public prosecutor’s office and police to release the footage as part of an investigation into the assault.

What happened in Bremen?

Mr Magnitz, 66, had just left a new year reception in Bremen’s Kunsthalle art museum when he was attacked in the city’s Goetheplatz as he walked to a central car park.

Mr Magnitz said he does not remember the attack. He has since checked himself out of the hospital.

Image copyright AFD

Initial AfD accounts of the attack said two local tradesmen ran to aid Mr Magnitz as his attackers kicked him on the ground.

Joint party leader Alice Weidel described the incident as an “assassination attempt” while local officials in Bremen blamed “incitement” from the centre-left SPD and Green parties.

Parties across the political divide condemned the assault, which police believe could be politically motivated.

But the AfD has since changed its initial version of events.

The two tradesmen said they came to help the politician only when they heard his cries for help, and did not scare off the attackers as initially claimed.

Mr Magnitz has also conceded the attack may have been a mugging, after initially describing it as “a politically motivated assassination attempt”.

Newspaper Berliner Morgenpost reports that AfD Bremen politician Thomas Jürgewitz said the party would describe the attack “a little differently” now.

Image copyright Bundestag

AfD entered the national parliament (Bundestag) for the first time last year with 94 seats and now has representatives in every German state parliament.

Its anti-immigration platform has struck a chord, particularly in eastern Germany where it hopes to make gains in three state elections this year. AfD is also eyeing the May 2019 European Parliament elections.

Last week an AfD office in the eastern town of Döbeln was damaged by an explosion. No-one was hurt.

SPD leader Andrea Nahles said that AfD was a “political opponent” of Germany’s tolerant society but anyone trying to fight it with violence “betrays these values and jeopardises our co-existence”.


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