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German spy chief backtracks over Chemnitz protest video doubts

German spy chief backtracks over Chemnitz protest video doubts


Reuters
BERLIN
The head of Germany's domestic spy agency, facing calls to quit for questioning whether a video showing far-right gangs hounding migrants in the city of Chemnitz was genuine, now accepts the footage was real, two papers reported on Tuesday.
Germany's most violent far-right protests in decades, which took place in the eastern city over the fatal stabbing of a German man blamed on two migrants, have reignited a heated debate about Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2015 decision to open the country's borders to more than a million refugees.
Hans-Georg Maassen, who heads the BfV intelligence agency, prompted anger from lawmakers of mainstream parties last week for telling top-selling Bild he was not sure if the footage, shot in Chemnitz two weeks ago and circulated online, was genuine.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said Maassen had written to Interior Minister Horst Seehofer saying that the video had not been falsified and that his comments had been misunderstood.
Maassen said he had meant to express doubt about whether the video genuinely showed people being chased, the papers wrote.
Lawmakers including the leader of the Social Democrats (SPD), who share power with Merkel's conservatives, called on Maassen to resign if he failed to explain his comments, and it is not yet clear to what extent the new explanation will ease the pressure on him.

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