Germany's top security official pledged Monday that authorities will prevent the World Cup from being used as a platform by far-right extremists, seeking to allay concerns raised by recent racist attacks.
Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said federal and state officials have worked for months with organizers to ensure the June 9-July 9 World Cup is not marred by hooligans, neo-Nazis or others, and are well-prepared to ensure a peaceful tournament.
"We will not tolerate any form of extremism, xenophobia or anti-Semitism," Schaeuble told reporters after presenting an annual report on security threats and crime by Germany's domestic intelligence agency.
Schaeuble's remarks came amid heightened concern after several attacks on dark-skinned people in Germany - most recently a Turkish-born state lawmaker who was hit on the head with a bottle by two men in an apparent anti-foreigner attack over the weekend.
"We will do everything in our power to prevent the soccer World Cup from being used by extremist organizations to spread their abhorrent thoughts," Schaeuble said.
The report, by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, showed an increase in violence by sympathizers of Germany's far-right fringe, with acts of violence committed by far-right extremists rising to 958 last year from 776 the previous year.