The girl, a member of the Jusos (youth wing of the SPD) in Berlin is pictured in an official poster brandishing the weapon with a caption that translates as “drop nationalists ice cold.”
The state secretary of the Jusos, Anikka Klose, acknowledged that the poster was official and defended it, saying: “It is provocative — and that was our intention.”
She then appeared to contradict herself by stressing that “violence is not a means of political debate for the Jusos Berlin.”The Chief Executive of the SPD, Michael Muller, condemned the poster, saying: “We expressly dissociate ourselves from this form of election campaign. The present motive can be misunderstood as a call to violence.”
The poster has been released just days ahead of the European Parliament election in which the populist and nationalist parties which the SPD strongly opposes are set to do well.
This is not the only recent incident of threatening behaviour involving the SPD. TheRheinische Post reported that in a recent election of the Jusos in Bavaria, tin cans with photos of politicians from opposition parties were lined up to have objects thrown at them.
In the UK in recent weeks there has been a spate of incidents in which right-wing and eurosceptic political candidates have had milkshakes thrown over them in the street. Victims of this kind of attack have included MEP candidate Tommy Robinson and most recently Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
The shift in anti-political behaviour has been compared to the build-up to the assassination of populist Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002. Protests against Fortuyn began with him being ‘pied’ (having a pie or cake thrown at him) on multiple occasions. He was later assassinated when a far-left activist fatally shot him nine days before that year’s Dutch national election, in which he was a candidate.On Monday, a Conservative councillor’s house was firebombed, which could have resulted in the death of the councillor, Graeme Campbell, and his wife and child who were asleep in the house at the time. The attack is believed to be politically motivated.
Mr Campbell said of the incident: “Another 15 minutes and we would have been dead if we hadn’t got the fire brigade, who were incredible… I’m totally disgusted because it could only have come from my work as a Councillor.”