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German teen turns himself in over attack on European election candidate

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BERLIN (AP) — A teenager surrendered to police on Sunday over an attack on a candidate from the party of Chancellor Olaf Scholz that fuelled concern about intimidation and violence in the run-up to next month’s election for the European Parliament.

The 17-year-old, accompanied by a parent, turned himself in at a police station in the eastern city of Dresden at 1 a.m., Saxony state police said.

“He admitted the act but didn’t go beyond that,” police spokeswoman Silvaine Reiche said.

Matthias Ecke, a candidate for the Social Democrats in the June 9 election, was attacked by four people while putting up posters in Dresden on Friday evening.

The party said he was taken to a hospital and required surgery for his injuries.

Both government and opposition parties say their members and supporters have faced a wave of physical and verbal attacks in recent months and have called for greater protection for politicians and election rallies.

Mainstream parties accuse the far-right Alternative for Germany party of links to violent neo-Nazi groups and of fomenting an intimidating political climate. One of its leaders, Bjoern Hoecke, is currently on trial for using a banned Nazi slogan.

Alternative for Germany, which campaigns against immigration and European integration, is expected to make gains in the European polls as well as in elections in Saxony and two other eastern German states in the fall.

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