GERMANY

Enraged Germans Blame Merkel For Terror Attack

A day after Christmas market attack, thousands take to social media under #Merkel_Must_Go

GERMANY
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives to sign the condolence book — REUTERS
Dec 20, 2016 at 11:25 AM ET

German chancellor Angela Merkel wore black when she spoke at the site where a driver killed 12 at a crowded Berlin Christmas market Monday. Merkel confirmed that the incident was indeed a terror attack, and that authorities would locate and prosecute the attacker.

“I know that it would be particularly difficult for all of us to bear if it is confirmed that this deed was carried out by a person who sought protection and asylum in Germany,” Merkel told reporters, echoing the cautious and measured tone taken by much of the German media in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

While on Tuesday afternoon, German police said they were uncertain if the Pakistani asylum seeker they detained was the correct suspect and that it was continuing to pursue on-the-ground investigations, outraged Germans flocked to Twitter to blame the deaths on Merkel’s refugee policies.

More than 2,500 tweeted under the hashtag #MerkelMussWeg, or #MerkelMustGo,” denouncing the chancellor’s open approach to the continent-wide crisis that has seen more than one million refugees land in Germany alone — the largest such population in Europe.

After Merkel changed her profile background on Facebook to black in solidarity with the victims killed in Monday’s attack, Marcus Schulz was among the nearly 5,000 who posted responses.

Schulz wrote to Merkel, “Don’t dare talk about grief. You are responsible and you’re to blame for the death of people. And we will hold them accountable, the day will come that they will have to appear in a courtroom. It’s a shame that certain type of punishments are no longer possible.”

German officials said Tuesday morning that they had received indications in recent days of an imminent threat on the traditional outdoor Christmas markets around the country.

The U.S. State Department issued a travel alert on Nov. 21 recommending that Americans “exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets” throughout Europe.