The extreme right-wing faction of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), known as “the Wing,” has been classified as an ‘observation case’ by the Federal Office for Constitutional Protection (BfV), according to an announcement from the office yesterday morning.
The head of the BfV, Thomas Haldenwang, claimed the group has been perpetuating a “proven extremist effort against the free democratic constitutional order” and referred to its leaders, Thuringian state party leader Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalbitz, a member of the AfD federal board, as “right-wing extremists.”
Since January 2019, the ‘Wing,’ along with the youth wing of the party, known as the Young Alternative, have been classified as “suspected cases,” which allowed the BfV to surveil their activities. With this new classification, the office can now expand their activities and maintain personal data.
While the group has no formal membership, the BfV estimates that around 20% of the AfD’s 35,000 members belong to the Wing. Haldenwang pointed to an increase in the Wing’s prominence within the AfD as the basis for the decision.
Leaders and members of traditional parties welcomed this announcement from the BfV. SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil voiced his support, saying “Protagonists like Björn Höcke call for the overthrow of our system and support the right-wing perpetrators of violence of the last few months with hatred and inflammatory words.”
Green leader Robert Habeck claimed the office should classify the entire party as a ‘suspicious case,’ in light of a recent uptick in racist, right-wing violence such as the terrorist attack in Hanau. (Sarah Lawton | EURACTIV.de)