The Cologne Police are investigating “several hundred” complaints made against the vice-president of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Beatrix von Storch, for an Islamophobic tweet, which also resulted in her Twitter account being temporarily blocked.
In her tweet, von Storch criticised the Cologne police force for posting a message in Arabic on New Year’s Eve “to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men.”
Von Storch’s tweet came in response to one by the Cologne Police that was posted in English, French and Arabic in which they wished people a happy, “peaceful and respectful” beginning to the new year.
The measure was part of the prevention strategy prepared by the authorities after a large number of sexual assaults were recorded in the city on New Year’s Eve two years ago, committed in part by immigrants and refugees.
What the hell is wrong with this country? Why is the official page of police in NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) tweeting in Arabic? Are they seeking to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men?” Von Storch responded to police message.
The social network blocked the Bundestag deputy’s account because it considered the tweet to be in violation of the laws against incitement to hatred.
Under legislation that came into force on January 1 social media companies can face fines of up to €50m if they fail to take down “obviously illegal” hate speech within 24 hours of receiving a notification.
AfD President Alice Weidel also had her account temporarily blocked for a tweet in which she criticised Von Sturch’s ban saying: “Our authorities submit to imported, marauding, groping, beating, knife-stabbing migrant mobs.”
In last year’s general election the AfD became the first far-right party to win seats in Germany’s parliament in more than half a century after winning 12.6 percent of the vote. If Angela Merkel’s Conservatives form another grand coalition with the Social Democrats it would leave the AFD as the largest opposition party in the Bundestag.