The self-designated group Der Flugel (The Wing), a faction within the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, has been officially declared an «observation case» by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz, BfV) on Thursday.
«Today I'm announcing that the Flugel has been declared a proven extremist organisation. According to new findings, previous probability... Еще has now become certainty,» said the Chief of the domestic intelligence agency Thomas Haldenwang, during a press conference in Berlin on Thursday,
He further called both Bjorn Hocke and Andreas Kalbitz, AfD's heads in the states of Thuringia and Brandenburg respectively, «right-wing extremists.»
Moreover, these two AfD leaders will be put under systematic surveillance.
While the exact number of The Wing's members is unknown, it is believed that up 7,000 people or 20 percent of the party members belong to the group.
Bjorn Hocke was at the centre of a scandal that rocked German politics last month. With the help of local Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Thomas Kemmerich from the Free Democratic Party (FDP) was elected as the Thuringian Minister President.
The CDU was severely criticised for uniting with the AfD, forcing Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to step down as CDU leader and to announce that she will not run as German chancellor in the upcoming 2021 federal election, despite the fact that she was widely seen as a successor to Angela Merkel.
On March 5, German Parliament President Wolfgang Schauble said that the government failed to timely acknowledge the threat of right-wing extremism to the country. The comments came in the wake of February’s terrorist attacks in the town of Hanau that claimed lives of 10 people and left five others injured.
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