A man who posed frequently on social media wearing a balaclava has gone on trial after he was caught with a pipe bomb just feet away from German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a city known for far-right protests.
The man, identified as 32-year-old Danny L., was allegedly caught with a pipe bomb in his rucksack when cops stopped him on 16th November last year in Chemnitz in the eastern German state of Saxony.
At the time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was visiting the city and was 1,600 feet away from the police checkpoint, having a Q&A meeting with Chemnitz citizens in a sports hall.
In the trial now underway in Chemnitz, the court hopes to clear up whether or not Danny L. was out to target Chancellor Merkel.
When asked by the judge what he wanted to do with the highly explosive device, Danny L. answered “at the time, nothing”.
He said that he filled the pipe with gunpowder six weeks earlier and forgotten to take it out of his rucksack.
Danny L. said: “I wanted to test whether or not I could make it explode.”
An expert testified in court that it would have indeed been possible to trigger an explosion with the device.
At the time of Danny L.’s arrest, several hundred members of a far-right movement called ‘Pro Chemnitz’ were reportedly protesting Merkel outside the sports hall.
In the months prior to the Chancellor’s visit, Chemnitz was the scene of frequent protests and riots after a German-Cuban man named Daniel Hillig was killed and two others seriously injured during a local festival on 26th August last year.
Two Kurdish immigrants, one Iraqi national and one Syrian national, were arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack.
In the wake of the incident, far-right groups took to the streets to protest against Merkel’s immigration policies which they blamed for Hillig’s death.
When anti-racism protesters staged counter-demonstrations, it led to violent clashes between the two groups.