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Germany's Scholz vows to defend free speech after campaign violence

9/6/2024 6:23
        At the end of an EU election campaign marred by violence, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday freedom of speech must be protected at all costs, vowing to take action against anyone who threatens it.
        
        Speaking at his party's final campaign rally for the European Parliament election, Scholz referred to the killing of a police officer by an Afghan man at an anti-Islam rally last week - an incident that shocked Germany.
        
        While Scholz has since vowed to toughen up deportation rules, analysts say the incident could give a slight boost at the ballot box on Sunday to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has long argued for a much more stringent line on immigration.
        
        But Scholz said on Saturday migrants were also the victims of violence committed by right-wing extremists, and referred to the wider problem of increasing political violence.
        
        There have been 22 assaults on politicians that caused physical injury so far this year compared with 27 for all of 2023, the Federal Criminal Police Office said last month.
        
        



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