On New Year’s Eve, there were widespread riots in Germany. In the capital city of Berlin, 33 emergency responders were injured, and 145 people were temporarily arrested. This has led to ongoing discussions about a ban on fireworks and a more forceful response from emergency responders. In addition, the origins of the attackers on New Year’s Eve have also become a topic of discussion.
Frankfurt politician Thomas Bäppler-Wolf (SPD) has weighed in on the discussion with a furious statement. The 61-year-old, known as “Bäppi,” called the events in Berlin “incomprehensible” in an Instagram video in which he angrily complains about “seeking refuge migrants” and ultimately compares the rioters on New Year’s Eve to apes. He later deleted the video, but politicians from the “PARTEI” party shared a recording of it on social media.
In the video message, the SPD politician, who has been a member of the Frankfurt City Parliament since 2016, says, “I’ve had enough, just like many others in this country.” He warns that the government shouldn’t be “surprised” if the “AfD nutjobs” someday get more votes than they do. To prevent this, the government needs to start “cracking down hard” and getting “this whole thing under control.” Bäppler-Wolf asks, “In what kind of country do we live in, where people who come here seeking protection behave in ways that they wouldn’t dare to at home?” He asserts that if you watch the videos from New Year’s Eve, it’s clear that the rioters are “90% not highly educated, German-speaking people from North Rhine-Westphalia.” He adds, “We know exactly what we’re talking about, even if it’s going to cause some trouble.”
The Frankfurt SPD politician believes that the “criminals” from New Year’s Eve should be “locked up” and, after serving their sentence, “immediately sent back to where they came from.” He also thinks the “asylum industry” needs to be “dissolved.”
The SPD press office did not respond to any questions about the incident involving Bäppler-Wolf. The SPD appears to ignore the incident and the allegations against Bäppler-Wolf.
The Jusos Frankfurt, a youth organization associated with the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), has responded to the escalation of violence against emergency responders on New Year’s Eve. In a statement, they strongly condemned the violence, but also criticized the simplified discussions that have solely focused on the supposed origins of some of the violent individuals.
The Jusos Frankfurt emphasized that the issues should be looked at in a more nuanced way, highlighting that toxic notions of masculinity, experiences of discrimination by society and police, and unequal opportunities are societal problems that should be examined. They made it clear that they are deeply opposed to the use of racist narratives, both within the SPD and in federal government and condemned the comments made by Bäppler-Wolf which are not in line with the party views, they welcomed that Bäppi deleted the video and positioned himself more differently
Instead of solely placing blame on certain groups of people, they called for urgent discussions on the fireworks ban that was requested by the emergency responders. They stated that racism must always be clearly identified and fought against, and the current debate highlights the racist resentments within our society and that there is still a long way to go.