German lawmaker's anti-Muslim tweet prompts complaint

Jan 03, 2018, 02:18
German lawmaker's anti-Muslim tweet prompts complaint

Twitter reacted quickly by removing the account of Beatrix von Storch informing her that she violated the terms and conditions of the social media platform.

"This unconstitutional law is now used against the opposition", she said, and thus "freedom of speech in Germany is in peril".

"What the hell is going on in this country?" howled Von Storch on Twitter.

Von Storch's tweet appeared to reference chaotic 2015 New Year's Eve celebrations in Cologne, which were marred by mass sex assaults on women by men of mostly North African origin.

A far-right German MP is under police investigation over inflammatory anti-Muslim comments she made on social media on New Year's Eve. "Why is an official police site. tweeting in Arabic?" she wrote.

Also the Twitter account of party leader Alice Weidel was blocked, after she posted on Monday a "solidarity" tweet in support of von Storch: "The year begins with the censorship law and the submission of our authorities to the imported, marauding, groping, beating, knife stabbing migrant mobs". The Cologne police, meanwhile, said on Monday that they have filed a criminal complaint against von Storch for hate speech.

A Cologne police spokesman said it was long-standing practise to send out information in several languages during large gatherings and events.

Twitter and Facebook's tough stance came as an anti-online hate speech law went into effect in Germany on January 1.

Ms von Storch declined to comment when asked in a newspaper interview about the police complaint, but she added it was important to speak freely about problems in Germany without censorship and the threat of charges.

According to national news agency DPA, Alternative for Germany chief Alexander Gauland has taken aim at the new rules, saying that the regulations are "Stasi methods that remind me of communist East Germany".

Gauland, who is not active on social media, encouraged users of such websites to "keep publishing" the erased comments from von Storch.

In September 2017, it became the first far-right party since the Nazis to enter the German parliament, after picking up 12.6 percent of the vote, which equalled 94 seats.

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