MAINZ, Germany – A Berlin police detained a man on Wednesday after a car he drove into the gates of the German Chancellery – home of Angela Merkel’s senior office.
The car appeared to have caused little damage, and photographs of the scene showed several indentations in the steel gates in front of the chancellery.
Volkswagen was flooded with messages in white paint: “You damn child and elderly murderers” and “Stop the politics of globalization.”
Police have arrested the 54-year-old male driver for questioning, a spokesman told NBC News. The police investigate the cause of the incident and its intent, they said in a tweet.
No losses were reported immediately, and it was not clear whether Merkel was in the building at the time. The driver was taken in a wheelchair, Reuters reported.
The incident came after attacks by Islamist militants in Paris, Nice and Vienna in recent weeks. Germany has also seen major protests in recent weeks against the government’s Covid-19 measures.
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Merkel is scheduled to discuss the country’s coronavirus restrictions with German federal states on Wednesday before Christmas and New Year.
The country was praised for responding to Covid-19 in the spring after Merkel’s government flattened the curve. Now, however, he struggles with thousands of infections a day.
Andy Eckardt reported from Mainz, Germany, and Rachel Elbaum from London.