A car with slogans scrawled on its sides crashed into the gate of the office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Wednesday, a witness said.
Pictures from the scene showed police inspecting the estate car at the gate with the words “Stop Globalisation Politics” written in white on its right side and “You damn killers of children and old people” on the other.
There were no immediate reports of casualties and it was not clear if Merkel was inside the building. Dozens of police and a fire engine attended the incident. The driver, who appeared to be in late middle age, was taken away in a wheelchair.
“We are establishing if the driver deliberately drove against (the gate),” Berlin police said on Twitter. “He has been taken into custody.”
Berlin police do not suspect an extremist attack, a spokeswoman said.
“We are not working on the basis of this assumption at the moment,” she said, when asked if police suspected an extremist attack.
A firefighter subsequently moved the car, which had a license plate from the northwestern county of Lippe, away from the gate. Both fence and car appeared largely undamaged.
Merkel was scheduled host a video conference of German state premiers on Wednesday, at which an extension to the coronavirus lockdown and further steps to combat the pandemic were due to be discussed.
Europe is on high alert after suspected Islamist militants killed eight people in Paris, Nice and Vienna in recent weeks. On Tuesday, Swiss police have identified a Swiss woman who knifed a victim in the neck and grabbed another by the throat in a Lugano department store as a known jihadist.
Four years ago, a failed Tunisian asylum seeker with Islamist links, hijacked a truck then drove it into a crowded Berlin Christmas market, killing 11 more people and injuring dozens of others.
The chancellery office, a white post-modernist structure set across a square from the Reichstag building that houses Germany’s parliament, is well set back from any main roads.