By Natalie Hensel
The suspect in a racist attack on a 17-year-old Syrian refugee in Erfurt was arrested on Tuesday.
The assault on a Syrian teenager sparked outrage on social media and amongst politicians.
The young man was on the tram, and all of a sudden, a 40-year-old man started to verbally abuse him, spat on him, then kicked him in the face and destroyed the teenager’s mobile phone for no apparent reason.
Passengers of the tram recorded the incident, and the video has been circulating on Social Media platforms like Twitter and Instagram which shows there has no provocation by the boy.
The video and witness statements helped the police identifying and seizing the suspect, an official statement confirms.
Andreas Bausewein, mayor of Erfurt, has offered his personal support for overcoming an eventual trauma, saying “When he feels mentally in the position and he wants to, I will visit and personally offer him our support to process this experience.”
Thuringia state minister Bodo Ramelow condemned the actions of the suspect strongly, calling him “cowardly” and the attack “simply disgusting” in a Twitter post made on Monday, 26 April 2021.
Thuringia, with Erfurt as its capital, has been known for its comparably high number of right-winged extremist supporters like neo-Nazis and fascists, wherefore it is sometimes referred to be a “brown” state.
In 2019, the “Alternative für Deutschland” (AfD, “alternative for Germany”) gained 22% of all votes in the federal state elections, making the right-wing populist and right-wing extremist party the third strongest party in power.