European election: Teen admits to attacking Matthias Ecke

A 17-year-old has turned himself in to police in Germany following an attack on a European Parliament member, police have said.

The teenager said he knocked down Matthias Ecke, the Social Democratic Party's (SPD) top candidate in Saxony, as he hung posters in Dresden.

Police said Mr Ecke, 41, was seriously injured and required an operation.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the attack, calling it a "threat" to democracy.

Officers said four attackers hit and kicked Mr Ecke in the Striesen district of Dresden.

According to Der Spiegel, the teen reported himself at a police station in Dresden in the early hours of Sunday accompanied by a parent.

The outlet said officers were looking for three more suspects aged 17 to 20.

Mr Ecke was campaigning for June's European Parliament election at the time of the attack on Friday.

Shortly before the incident, the same group appear to have attacked a 28-year-old Greens campaigner on the same street, police said.

The assaults have been condemned by a number of politicians, with Mr Scholz saying on Saturday that: "Democracy is threatened by this kind of act."

Speaking to a congress of European socialist parties in Berlin, he said: "We must never accept such acts of violence... we must oppose it together."

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser warned "extremists and populists are stirring up a climate of increasing violence".

The SPD blamed supporters of the far-right party Alternative for Germany party (AfD) for the attack.

"Their supporters are now completely disinhibited and apparently see us democrats as fair game," Henning Homann and Kathrin Michel, who chair the SPD's Saxony branch, said in the statement.

"The attack on Matthias Ecke is an unmistakable alarm signal to all people in this country."

"Our democratic values ​​are under attack."

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola expressed her solidarity with Mr Ecke, saying she was "horrified" by the "vicious attack".

On Thursday two Greens deputies were harassed while campaigning in Essen in western Germany and one was hit in the face, police said.