BERLIN (AP) — A black politician in Germany vowed Thursday to continue campaigning for Chancellor Angela Merkel's party despite suffering racial abuse from far-right opponents.
Zeca Schall, a 45-year-old Angolan who settled in Germany in 1988 and is a German citizen, said he is receiving police protection after suffering threats from the anti-immigrant National Democratic Party, or NPD.
Election posters that picture Schall alongside other officials of Merkel's Christian Democratic Union in the eastern state of Thuringia have been defaced with the message, "Have a good trip home Zeca!"
The National Democrats also abused Schall with racial slurs in press statements.
"In all the years I have lived in Thuringia, I have never experienced anything like this," Schall told N24 television.
But he said Thuringia's governor, Dieter Althaus — one of those appearing with Schall in the posters for the Aug. 30 state elections — had offered assurances that "nothing would happen to me."
State prosecutors said they had launched a preliminary investigation into whether the National Democratic Party action constituted racial incitement. Merkel's party has filed a complaint against the party.
Schall, who trained as a metal worker and is a volunteer firefighter, has been a Christian Democrat member since he gained German citizenship in 2004.
Schall is not himself running for any office in the Thuringia state election. He did run for a seat on his local council earlier this year, but lost.
While only a fringe force at national level, with no seats in the federal parliament, the National Democratic Party has caused alarm in recent years by winning seats in the legislatures of two other eastern states.
In 2003, a three-year government effort to ban the party was thrown out of the constitutional court over the government's use of evidence from paid informants.
Proposals to attempt another ban have failed to garner support.