Germany: World Cup pledge

Germany's government has pledged to take a tough stance against xenophobia at the World Cup.

“I think during the world championship everyone can feel safe, wherever they will be in Germany,” said Wolfgang Schaeuble, the country’s interior minister.

“No one who attempts to attack foreigners, especially people of colour, will succeed.”

Schaeuble statement came a day after a former government spokesman said non-whites should avoid parts of Brandenburg, the former east German state surrounding Berlin, because “they would possibly not leave there alive”.

Ermyas M, a German of Ethiopian extraction, was beaten into a coma last month by attackers in Potsdam, Brandenburg’s capital, in an incident which ignited a public debate about racism.

Members of Germany’s extreme-right plan to demonstrate in support of anti-Israeli statements made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, when Angola take on Iran in Leipzig on 21 June.

But Schaeuble said the government would use all available legal means to prevent the World Cup being exploited.

German officials see the 32-nation tournament as a chance to present their country to the world as welcoming, open and tolerant.

Theo Zwanziger, the president of the DFB, the German Football Federation, said they intend to fight the scourge that is blighting the image of the country.

“We will not tolerate it. We will keep our eyes open. The creeping poison of racism can be very, very dangerous.”

BBC News