Saxony police has been forced to ask whether it is harboring far-right sympathizers, after a TV crew was prevented from filming at a rally. It’s not the first time German security forces have come under suspicion.
DW reports that an incident last week in Dresden, when police detained a TV crew filming a far-right demo against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, has done nothing to quell persistent suspicions about links between the far-right scene and Germany’s security forces.
Those rumors were only strengthend with the subsequent revelation that the supporter of the anti-migrant PEGIDA movement, who harassed the reporters and complained to the authorities was himself employed by the Saxony state police department.
The journalist in question — from public broadcaster ZDF — accused police of effectively acting as the “executive” arm of PEGIDA.
The case has generated plenty of political fallout at national level. Chancellor Merkel on Thursday stressed her “strong commitment to press freedom” and said that demonstrators “must accept they may be filmed by the media.”
Justice Minister Katarina Barley described the incident as “truly worrying.” Opposition politicians and journalist organizations, meanwhile, were suggesting that PEGIDA represented a threat to Germany’s democratic order, and so could not be allowed to gain access to security forces.
Wolfgang Kubicki, deputy leader of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP), declared to Focus magazine, “The fact that state police employees are marching with PEGIDA is not tolerable, as far as I’m concerned.” He also demanded a disciplinary procedure “with the aim of removing [the protester] from service.”