Merkel ally under police protection after 'Heil Hitler' death threat

  • World
  • Monday, 21 Oct 2019

German Chancellor Angela Merkel smiles besides Mike Mohring, CDU state chairman of Thuringia and top candidate of the party for the upcoming state elections, and Birgit Diezel, president of state parliament Thuringia, as she attends a celebration event of the CDU Parliamentary Group in the State Parliament Thuringia for the Day of German Unity in the state parliament building in Erfurt, Germany, September 27, 2019. Jens Meyer/Pool via REUTERS

BERLIN (Reuters) - German police said on Monday they were protecting the leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives in the eastern state of Thuringia, which holds an election in six days, after he received a death threat that ended "Heil Hitler!".

Mike Mohring said suspected neo-Nazi extremists threatened to stab him in the neck or attack one of his rallies with a car bomb if he did not stop campaigning for the Oct. 27 regional election.

The message, in an email sent on Saturday, concluded with the greeting "Sieg Heil and Heil Hitler"! It was signed by the "Musicians of the State Coup Orchestra", who described themselves as a "group of globally connected right-wing extremists".

Police and intelligence agencies are under pressure to take action against right-wing extremists after an anti-Semitic neo-Nazi militant killed two people earlier this month in attacks on a synagogue and a kebab restaurant in the eastern city Halle.

A police spokeswoman said the serious crime unit in Thuringia was investigating the death threat against Mohring.

Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) are vying for second place with the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Thuringia election, where polls also show the ruling far-left Linke party will come first.

The AfD in Thuringia is led by Bjoern Hoecke, an anti-immigrant former history teacher who has drawn criticism from Jewish leaders and mainstream politicians for calling Berlin's Holocaust memorial a "monument of shame" and demanding that schools highlight German suffering in World War Two.

Jewish leaders and politicians said after the attacks in Halle that the AfD's anti-immigrant rhetoric was contributing to an atmosphere of hate that encouraged political violence.

The Halle attacks and the deadly shooting of pro-immigration CDU politician Walter Luebcke in June by a far-right extremist have exposed the need for more security and judicial measures against individuals plotting political violence.

"This is a warning and there will not be a second one," read the email sent to Mohring from an address ending "This applies to all the leftist and ecological pussies out there, we will enslave you first and then exterminate you."

(Reporting by Joseph Nasr; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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