German federal police debates polarization of society in COVID times | Germany | News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW

“The mood is gloomy and the situation is very serious,” says Dirk Neubauer, the mayor of the small city of Augustusburg, on the fall convention of the German Federal Felony Police Workplace in Wiesbaden.As Germany struggles to comprise the fourth wave of hovering coronavirus infections, Saxony has been the state with the very best an infection charges.

Neubauer is a visitor on the convention titled “stability instead of division: what internal security can bear and endure.” He talks concerning the pandemic and individuals who refuse to be vaccinated. “We are so far along that the rifts are deepening,” he says.

When he says “we,” the 50-year-old actually does imply everybody. He calls out what he sees because the one-sided stigmatization of his compatriots in Saxony, the place. It’s also the place the right-wing populist Different for Germany (AfD) has its stronghold. “I talk to anyone who is able to keep a calm head,” Neubauer says. However there have been conversations he has needed to break off.

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Assault on democracy

Nonetheless, Neubauer considers it necessary to try to attain out. “You won’t get people back to the table by excluding them,” he says.

Neubauer is a former journalist and has already written two books about his observations: “The Problem is Us” and “Save Democracy!”

Neubauer’s presentation differs markedly from the contributions of the opposite specialists on the annual Federal Police convention in Wiesbaden.

Different audio system have used scientific strategies to investigate why Germany appears to be so deeply divided.

Munich-based communications professional Carsten Reinemann sees an enormous decline in belief in political establishments, which performs out within the present pandemic. Primarily based on his research, Reinemann believes that many vaccine skeptics really feel like “second-class citizens” and hardly use conventional media. On the identical time, nevertheless, Reinemann defends social media platforms towards the blanket accusation that they’re simply filter bubbles and echo chambers for extremists.

Assessing society’s polarization

Nicole Deitelhoff of the Hessian Basis for Peace and Battle Analysis, nevertheless, believes the state of affairs has been exaggerated. “The polarization of society is less dramatic than many claim,” she says. She sees the declining variety of individuals at vaccine-skeptic Querdenker (lateral thinker) demonstrations as proof of her level. Within the occasion of one other lockdown, nevertheless, she expects extra protests once more. “The core Querdenker will then probably drift further into the right-wing camp.”

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Holger Münch, President of the Federal Felony Police Workplace and host of the convention agrees. In an interview with DW, he says that protest and polarization are regular, however warns that it is necessary to observe the fringes of society “to ensure that radicalization does not take root there and new acts of violence are prevented.”

A part of his technique is combatting incitement and threats on social media platforms. “We have to intensely fight all these intimidation strategies,” he stated.

Münch’s willpower is in step with the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier who addressed the convention by way of video. “Belief in conspiracies, often paired with anti-Semitism, prepares the ground for attacks on media, doctors performing vaccinations and scientists, creating a climate of division and agitation,” he stated.

This text has been translated from German.

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