Steinmeier appeals to citizens: “That offends us all!”

Steinmeier appeals to citizens
“That offends us all!”

Federal President Steinmeier calls for loud contradiction in view of a radicalizing part of the Corona protests. One should not remain silent when “extremists lay the ax on basic democratic trust”. He fears that these attacks will not stop once the pandemic ends.

In the intensifying debate about the right course to take regarding Corona, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called for radical forces not to leave the field. The large, often silent majority in our country has been acting in solidarity and responsibility for months, said Steinmeier in Berlin. “I’m just afraid that this majority shouldn’t remain silent when extremists lay the ax on basic democratic trust.”

Everyone in Germany has the right to peacefully protest against corona measures, Steinmeier emphasized at a discussion with volunteer citizens. “But I see with concern that radical, especially right-wing extremist forces, who are not concerned with Corona, but who are attacking our democratic constitutional state, are exploiting the protests for their own purposes and are increasingly harnessing others to their anti-democratic carts.”

The violence at these protests is increasing. Police officers, journalists and also democratically elected politicians are being attacked more and more often. “Our constitutional state must punish such attacks with all severity,” said the head of state. But that is only one part. “The other part, I think, concerns us all. When so-called walkers babble about a ‘corona dictatorship’, then there is not only contempt for state institutions. It offends us all! Because we are all this democracy! All of us struggling to do the right thing in this grueling pandemic.”

There are already regions where people who are openly committed to democracy sometimes ask whether the majority is behind them. “We mustn’t leave them alone. We mustn’t get used to such erosion. Even if it’s exhausting: Wherever people turn away – colleagues, neighbors, relatives – we have to try to bring them back.”

It will not be the last attacks

Steinmeier assumes that democracy will continue to be exposed to such attacks even after the corona pandemic has ended. “I’m sure the mandatory vaccination debate will not be the last topic with which extreme forces will try to drive the poisoned sting into our democracy.”

After the pandemic, Germany is facing enormous tasks and an enormous change. The Federal President named the fight against climate change, the organization of immigration and migration, digitization and globalization as well as the modernization of the state and education system.

None of these tasks can be mastered “if more and more people get lost along the way, if they turn away and, in the worst case, fall for the anti-democratic calls and follow them”. In the end, these future tasks are also about democracy. “There, too, we will have to struggle democratically for solutions and compromises that – time and time again – are supported and carried by majorities.”

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