Vigils in Germany for victims of racist shooting

Tens of thousands of people attended vigils for the nine victims of a far-right extremist who opened fire on two shisha bars in Hanau, Germany.

At the vigils on Thursday in Hanau and Berlin people carrying candles and white roses gathered in silence.

Wednesday evening’s attack is being treated by investigators as an act of terrorism.

The German government is meanwhile facing calls to do more to combat the threat of far-right extremism.

Germany’s Federal Prosecutor Peter Frank said the suspect, Tobias R, 43, posted material online that showed a “deeply racist mindset”.

All of the victims were of immigrant backgrounds, and several are thought to be of Kurdish origin.

In a statement, the Kon-Med association of Kurds in Germany said that it was “furious” with the authorities for “not resolutely opposing right-wing networks and right-wing terrorism”.

Germany’s Muslim association KRM also called for more to be done, saying they had requested for months there needed to be “a clear stand against Islamophobia”.

In her response to the attack Chancellor Angela Merkel talked of the “poison of racism”, while attending one of the vigils President Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Germany “won’t be intimidated”.