European Championships: Man arrested after giving Nazi salute in front of Israeli athletes

An incident on the sidelines of the European Athletics Championships. This Wednesday, the Munich police announced that they had arrested a 19-year-old young man who had given the Nazi salute to the passage of a delegation of Israeli athletes. The sixteen athletes went to a monument erected in memory of the victims of the attack perpetrated in 1972 by the Palestinian organization “Black September” at the Munich Olympics, which cost the lives of eleven members of the Israeli delegation.

The incident, which occurred on a bridge connecting the stadium to the former Olympic village now inhabited by private individuals, was observed by the police themselves, who escorted the delegation to the monument. “In the current state of the investigation, the group had not noticed”, the gesture of the young man, employed as a security guard and domiciled in Berlin, specifies the police in a press release.

The latter was immediately arrested by the police, who released him after filing a complaint against him. In Germany, the Hitler salute or the wearing of Nazi signs such as the swastika are punishable by law, and can be punished by fines or sentences of up to three years in prison.

Tensions around the anniversary of the attack

The incident comes as Germany prepares to commemorate, in a tense climate, the 50th anniversary of the attack which took place on September 5. The families of the victims have indeed announced that they will decline the invitation to attend the commemorations. They demand from the German authorities “public apologies” for “all their errors” and their “lies” in this affair, “to open all” their archives, as well as “just financial compensation”.

The German authorities were held partly responsible for the bloody outcome of the hostage-taking, which ended at the Fürstenfeldbruck military base, about thirty kilometers from Munich. A West German policeman was also killed, as were five of the eight attackers.

As the commemoration approaches, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also added fuel to the fire on Tuesday. During a press conference with Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, he refused to answer a question about the Munich bombing, instead comparing the crimes committed against the Palestinians to a holocaust, comments strongly condemned in particular in Israel and Germany.

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