Maassen was removed from his job at the helm of the Federal Office for Constitutional Protection (BfV) on Tuesday after suggesting that a viral video apparently showing foreigners being hounded by far-right protesters in the city of Chemnitz might have been fake.
Maassen’s sacking was demanded by Merkel’s coalition partners in the Social Democrat Party. He was eventually given a higher position of a state secretary under Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a known critic of the chancellor’s migration policy.
"The political decision of punishing Mr. Maassen is unacceptable and spreading fake news about non-existent aggression in the city of Chemnitz is a cheap trick by the federal government to hide the worsening security situation in Germany," Joerg Meuthen, federal spokesman for the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, told Sputnik.
Dietmar Bartsch, the parliamentary group leader for the left-wing Die Linke party, told Sputnik the former spy chief’s new job was a sinecure where he would have nothing to do.
"He made an unfortunate statement. That's all. All those who were screaming for resignation are in error. Since taking office in security, Maassen had built an excellent reputation. Hans-Georg Maassen was one of the first in the political machinery of the Federal Republic to warn against the effects of massive and uncontrolled immigration," Serrao said.
The row over alleged violence in Chemnitz, following a month of protests, shows continued divisions on migration in Germany after Merkel announced her open-door asylum policy in 2015. It remains a pressing issue ahead of October polls in Bavaria, the country’s largest state.
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