Car hits gate outside Merkel’s offices

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A car crashed into the front gate of the building housing German chancellor Angela Merkel’s offices on Wednesday morning but the incident did not appear to have caused any great damage, Berlin police said.

Police tweeted that the 54-year-old driver was arrested but did not give any further details on the man.

They confirmed he had received treatment in an ambulance.

Angela Merkel works in the chancellery

The car had the slogan “You damned murderers of children and old people” scrawled in white paint on one side. On the other side it said “stop the globalisation policies”.

It had number plates from the Lippe area in western Germany and was driven away by the Berlin fire service showing little sign of damage beyond a few scratches. The metal gate to the chancellery appeared slightly bent.

The chancellery sits in central Berlin next to the Swiss Embassy and across from the capital’s parliamentary offices. The exterior gate that was hit can be accessed from public streets.

There was no immediate indication of what prompted the incident, but it came on the day that Mrs Merkel was to meet with state governors to talk about extending a partial coronavirus shutdown that started on November 2.

Mrs Merkel’s office had no immediate comment on the incident.

The government’s approach toward slowing the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions enjoy widespread support among most Germans but they have also prompted occasionally violent protests in some major cities.

The incident was reminiscent of a similar case in 2014 when a nearly identical car drove at slow speeds into the same gate, causing no damage. The car carried a slogan condemning climate change and a 48-year-old man was taken into custody.

Reports at the time said the man had done something similar before. It was not immediately clear, however, whether the 2014 incident was related to that on Wednesday

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