German police investigate attacks targeting refugees

2015-11-02 20:09

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Berlin - German police were on Monday investigating the latest bout of violence targeting refugees across eastern Germany, part of a wave of attacks that have plagued the country as some people lash out against an influx of migrants.

Police in the eastern community of Meerane on Monday provided details of a clash the day before in which a group of people attempted to block buses that were trying to bring refugees to temporary homes.

About 700 refugees arrived in the train station on Sunday. From there, they were to be bused to a variety of centres. But a crowd of about 200 showed up to protest their arrival. Police said they ordered about 80 to disperse and ended up arresting three.

The police reported that officers were attacked and targeted with firecrackers. Two officers were injured in the violence.

It was one of several incidents over the weekend. Authorities in Magdeburg and Wismar reported Monday that they were investigating cases in which groups of people attacked asylum seekers. In Wismar, the attacks were carried out with a baseball bat.

And in the western state of Lower Saxony, police filed charges against a 43-year-old man for allegedly throwing a petrol bomb at a home for refugees over the weekend. The flames were put out before any severe damage was sustained.

Police and experts say the policies implemented by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to allow in hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers trying to escape war zones is lending strength to the far-right scene.

A journalist for the daily Tagesspiegel on Monday reported that he had been attacked in Berlin, apparently because of an editorial he wrote decrying the attacks on migrants.

Monday was expected to see another demonstration in the eastern city of Dresden by Pegida, an anti-immigrant group whose name roughly translates to Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of Europe.

The group has been rallying against the influx of foreigners for a year. After its numbers waned amid scandals earlier this year, they have been on the rise again in recent weeks as worries swell about the growing number of arrivals.

The arrival of so many migrants has also caused disturbances in Merkel's coalition government. Merkel banged out a deal Sunday with Horst Seehofer - the head of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to her Christian Democrats - that would allow transit zones, where asylum seekers could be held outside Germany while their application was processed.

Their creation has been a long-standing demand of Seehofer's.

But those zones are seen as a non-starter by the other member of Merkel's coalition, the Social Democrats.

Read more on:    angela merkel  |  germany  |  migrants

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