German Mayor Knocked Unconscious After Proposing Refugee Shelter

REUTERS/Alex Kraus

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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The mayor of a small German town was beaten unconscious on his way to a meeting Thursday night in an attack investigators believe is linked to his plans to bring refugees into the community.

Joachim Kebschull, 61, serves as mayor of Oersdorf in northern Germany, home to less than 900 people. Kebschull wants to house refugees on a property in the community, which many locals strictly oppose. He has received death threats for months, and the local council has been forced to cancel its meetings twice due to bomb threats.

Words turned into action Thursday when Kebschull was struck on the back of the head with a stick or wooden beam. He was knocked unconscious and was taken to the hospital.

Newspaper Spiegel reports the mayor received letters earlier during the day saying “He who does not want to hear will have to feel” and “Oersdorf for the Oersdorfers.”

Attacks on local politicians in Germany are increasingly common since the start of the refugee crisis. The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) has registered more than 800 unlawful attacks — ranging from damage of property to assault —  on politicians so far this year, including 18 physical assaults.

BKA claims 384 attacks were carried out by right-wing extremists, and 97 by left-wing extremists.

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