A controversial arrest in Germany
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party has made news in recent years with the kind of taboo nationalist-xenophobic extreme rhetoric associated with the Nazis — and by performing surprisingly well in German elections. On Monday, police arrested Daniel Halemba, a 22-year-old AfD politician elected to Bavaria’s Parliament earlier this month, on charges of sedition and possessing banned Nazi symbols.
This drama began when police were called last week to a student fraternity house in Würzburg after neighbors heard a crowd inside chanting “Sieg Heil,” a well-known Nazi slogan. Inspection of the house reportedly produced a number of banned items. Halemba was arrested just hours before he would have gained immunity from prosecution by being sworn in to Bavaria’s Parliament.
The leader of the AfD, which finished third in the most recent Bavarian parliamentary elections, called the charges against Halemba politically motivated. We’ll be watching to see if the coming court case will have any impact on the party’s national standing, where it currently polls second only to the opposition CDU, with 21% support.