Orders to shoot refugees?
The chairman of the national-conservative Alternative for Germany (AfD), Frauke Petry, has said that if necessary German border guards should have permission to use firearms to prevent refugees from entering the country illegally. Commentators are appalled and draw parallels with Germany's past.
AfD not anti-constitutional
The statement by AfD leader Frauke Petry that Germany's border police should be authorised to shoot at refugees trying to enter the country illegally doesn't alter the fact that the party is based on the rule of law, the centre-left daily Tages-Anzeiger believes:
“It's perfectly legitimate to call on the chancellor to abandon her welcoming policy and close Germany's borders as long as the measures respect the law and international obligations. The AfD need neither let itself be accused of Nazism nor of sedition simply for exercising its democratic rights. Democrats who want to oppose the party either from the right or the left should do so with arguments. They must show that they have better, more humane, more practicable proposals for dealing with the refugee crisis than the xenophobes. They must meet their enemies with self-assurance, earnestness and determination, and debunk their all-too simple solutions as illusions. And they must refrain from using populist tactics themselves because by emulating them they only strengthen what they purport to fight.”
No alternative for Germany
The leader of the Berlin section of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Beatrix von Storch, reiterated Petry's call for border forces to also open fire on children. With these inhuman demands voiced by two of its leading representatives the AfDhas shown its true colours, the website of the public broadcaster tagesschau.de comments:
“The AfD drew on a truly despicable bag of tricks on the weekend and today. Brashly pronouncing something that is deeply inhuman for the sake of becoming the number one topic of conversation was a trick also used by the Nazis before they took power. ... We must expose these intellectual arsonists for what they are: deeply undemocratic and anti-constitutional. It can no longer be a question of ignoring them or shrouding them in a veil of silence. Germany of all countries should agree on that and say no to all talk of firing shots on its border. But thanks to the AfD that is exactly what we're talking about. And so by now it should be clear to every last German that this troop is NOT an alternative for Germany.”
Alarm bells must ring outside Germany too
With her call for German border police to be authorised to shoot at refugees the AfD leadership is awakening dark memories in Germany, the liberal business paper Hospodářské noviny comments:
“Until now the new AfD leader Frauke Petry had been careful not to break any unwritten laws. But now she's gone too far in a newspaper interview. All parties reacted with outrage to her statement that the police should be authorised to use firearms against refugees as a last resort. The head of Germany's federal police force has even said that resorting to such measures would contravene the rule of law. Such a strong reaction would be considered inappropriate in any other country, but our neighbours have good reason to worry. And let's hope that the alarm bells also go off here when the chairman of the SPD parliamentary group Thomas Oppermann points out that the last German politician to order German troops to open fire was former GDR leader Erich Honecker. We are familiar with such incidents from our own history.”