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Far-right German Politician Arrested After ‘Sieg Heil’ Salutes Heard

A legislator with the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party was arrested on Monday on charges including displaying forbidden totalitarian symbols, with neighbours of his fraternity complaining of often hearing the Nazi “Sieg Heil” victory salute.

Newly elected Daniel Halemba, 22, was due to take up his seat in the Bavarian regional parliament later on Monday. He is a member of the Teutonia Prague student fraternity, whose premises were raided by police in September.

During the raid, officials said, they found forbidden symbols – Germany’s constitution forbids the display of symbols of totalitarian regimes such as the swastika – and neighbours complained of hearing “Sieg Heil” (Hail Victory) from inside.

A prosecution spokesperson said Halemba would be brought before court later on Monday or Tuesday. Charges include inciting racist abuse.

A national conversation that is increasingly dominated by discussion of migration has helped the AfD to a series of strong electoral showings far beyond its old heartlands in the post-industrial east, with voters seemingly unperturbed by its rightward drift.

The party, second in polls in several eastern states, achieved record results in the western states of Bavaria and Hesse on 8 October.

The party and its youth wing are under observation in several states, with prominent figures such as the lead European parliament candidate Maximilian Krah comparing immigration to colonialism and stating that “oriental landgrabs” lead to “sexual abuse of European girls”.

Halemba, who joined the fraternity as a law student in Würzburg, has named Björn Höcke, leader of the AfD’s far-right wing, as his political role model.

“They want to arrest me, an elected state parliament member, three days before I take my seat, using a totally lawless arrest warrant,” said Halemba in a video shared on his lawyer’s Telegram channel.

Germany’s fraternities, many of which date back to the country’s first unification in the 19th century, are notorious for their conservative, often nationalistic philosophy.

Source : The Guardian