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Crimes in Chemnitz and Köthen

Against "rabble-rousing, violence and Nazi slogans"

Following the crimes in Chemnitz and Köthen, the Chancellor has expressed her outrage and said that she has no understanding. At the same time, though, she has stressed that this cannot be an excuse for "rabble-rousing, violence or Nazi slogans".

Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in the German Bundestag.

Speaking in the German Bundestag, Chancellor Angela Merkel thanked everyone who stands up for democracy and the rule of law

Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

"We have rules, and these rules cannot be replaced by emotions," said Angela Merkel.

Right at the start of her speech in the budget debate in the German Bundestag, Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her concern. "Crimes like this sadden me deeply, sadden all of us deeply. We mourn with the families. Crimes like this must be investigated, the perpetrators taken to court and punished with the full force of the law."

Understanding for outrage in Germany

The Chancellor stressed that she can understand everyone who is outraged, when, after a person is killed, it transpires once again that the "perpetrators were criminals with a number of previous convictions or that they were obliged to leave the country under an enforceable decision". The German government is well aware of its responsibility in this context, she said.

People taking to the street to demonstrate are making use of their "constitution rights" declared Angela Merkel.

No excuse for treating others with contempt

However, the Chancellor does not see this legitimate outrage as any excuse for "rabble rousing, in some cases even the use of violence, Nazi slogans, hostility towards people who look different, or attacks on police officers". And linguistic quibbling, she added, about whether or not scenes can be termed rabble rousing or hounding are "really not helpful".

Article 1 of the German Basic Law is the foundation on which we live together

Article 1 applies to everyone and anyone contravening this article "is taking an axe to the roots on which our coexistence grows", turning his or her back on our values of unity, justice and freedom. "This is a challenge that goes to the very heart of our rule-of-law state," declared Angela Merkel.

Article 1 (1) of the German Basic Law or Constitution reads, "Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority."

Chancellor thanks everyone who stands up for the rule of law

Finally, Angela Merkel thanked everyone who "stands up for our rule-of-law state" and singled out "the police officers, all security forces, judges, public prosecutors, and those who serve in our prions, which is anything but easy".

Her thanks, though, also went to the many refugees "who live here peacefully with us" and to the many full-time and volunteer helpers working with refugees. "Thankfully there are many of them everywhere in our country and that is why it is totally wrong and entirely inappropriate to make sweeping generalised judgements of entire groups, or parts of the country, like Saxony or the eastern federal states," said Angela Merkel.

Before coming to the end of her speech, Angela Merkel once again called on the people of Germany not to allow "entire groups in our society to be surreptitiously marginalised".