Candidate for Germany’s key party beaten up and injured while campaigning for European elections

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends a joint press conference with Montenegro’s Prime Minister Milojko Spajic in the chancellory in Berlin, on April 29. (AP)

BERLIN, May 4, (AP): A candidate for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s center-left party in next month’s election for the European Parliament was beaten up and seriously injured while campaigning in an eastern city, the party said Saturday.
It was the latest in a series of incidents raising political tensions in Germany ahead of the polls. Scholz’s Social Democrats, or SPD, launched their official campaign for the June 9 vote with a rally last week in Hamburg, Scholz’s longtime home city.
Matthias Ecke, a candidate for the Social Democratic Party, was attacked while putting up posters in Dresden on Friday evening, the party said. It said he was taken to hospital and required surgery for his injuries.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who is also a member of the party, said that if it’s proven that the assault was politically motivated, it would represent “a serious attack on democracy.”
“We are experiencing a new dimension of anti-democratic violence,” Faeser said.
Government and opposition parties say their members and supporters have faced a wave of physical and verbal attacks and called on police to step up protection for politicians and election rallies.

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