Leading candidate in Cologne’s mayoral race stabbed in a politically motivated attack
Last Saturday, Henriette Reker, who currently heads Cologne’s Social Affairs and Integration Department, and is responsible for refugee housing, was stabbed in the neck whilst campaigning to become Cologne’s mayor. The attacker told police he stabbed Ms Reker “because of anti-foreigner motives,” according to a senior police investigator.
The attack follows recent arson attacks on refugee shelters as well as reports of refugees being greeted by neo-Nazis humming Third Reich songs.
It also comes as the German government deals with the backlash over its open doors policy from conservative allies and the far right. Immigration fears also saw far right parties increase their vote share in Swiss parliamentary and Vienna elections last week.
Gerard Deprez, Co-Preisdent of ARDI and Chair of ARDI’s Anti-migrant racism Working Group, said: “I am shocked and repulsed by this attack. I wish such attacks were a thing of the past, but instead they remind us that we must remain vigilante and continue our fight. By giving Ms Reker a majority of the vote in the first round of the election, the Cologne voters clearly rejected the stupidity and racist violence.”
Terry Reintke, member of ARDI, concluded: “This incident is a reminder that some people are prepared to do anything to impose their views. This is a wake-up call. All political and community leaders need to stand united to fight against any form of racism and xenophobia.”