After the attack on Greens club boss Sigrid Maurer in central Vienna on Thursday evening, the suspect was released on charges of attempted bodily harm. The 26-year-old threw a drinking glass in the MP’s face during a conversation. During his interrogation, he regretted the incident. “It was a mistake,” he said in the investigation, according to police. Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen was “deeply shocked” by the incident.
The 26-year-old was in a guest garden of a restaurant in Herrengasse on Thursday evening, where Maurer and an employee were also sitting. Because the man was angry about the Corona measures of the past two years, he complained about it to the politician. A discussion ensued, during which the glass was thrown. The drinking glass didn’t break, Maurer wasn’t hurt.
Arrest at Kohlmarkt
The man left the scene – according to the police, he left at a normal pace. Police officers from the police command Binnenstad were able to temporarily detain the 26-year-old on the Kohlmarkt. Maurer has filed a complaint on suspicion of bodily harm. Despite threats, there was no personal protection for the politician at the time of the physical attack. The man was interrogated that evening.
Numerous politicians condemned the incident, not the first publicly known attack on the politician. In 2018, she received obscene messages via Facebook, made it public and was subsequently charged with defamation by a man known as “Bierwirt”, who was later sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his ex-girlfriend. Maurer was eventually acquitted in 2021. It set a precedent that had also sparked a public debate about hate online.
Van der Bellen: ‘This is destroying our democracy’
Numerous politicians condemned the incident. Alexander Van der Bellen also spoke on Friday: if someone meets an opposing political opinion with violence and hatred, it “destroys our democracy”, declared the Federal President: “We must never allow that.”
National Council chairman Wolfgang Sobotka (ÖVP) described the attack as “disgusting and unacceptable in terms of our democracy”. Already on Thursday evening, members of the government of the ÖVP and the Greens, but also opposition leaders Pamela Rendi-Wagner (SPÖ) and Beate Meinl-Reisinger (NEOS) and the Viennese mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) Maurer.
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