Anti-immigration sentiment rises in Germany

HENDRIK SCHMIDT

Grafitti on the town sign of Clausnitz, a district of Rechenberg-Bienenmuehle, Saxony, Germany, 20 February 2016. Opponents of a newly-opened asylum-seeker accomodation were shouting 'We are the people' at refugees and blocking the way of their bus late 18 February.

On Saturday, anti-immigration protesters blocked a refugee bus entering an accommodation center in Germany and on Sunday, a crowd of locals cheered as the roof of a refugee shelter went up in flames


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The anti-immigration sentiment is rising in Germany, as more and more people are participating in enraged anti-refugee incidents.

The Associated Press reported that while most Germans have been welcoming toward refugees, the anti-immigration sentiment is rising especially in the east.

While Germany has been lauded for opening its borders to refugees from Syria and Iraq, the country has also experienced a surge in attacks against refugee camps. According to official figures, 924 attacks were recorded in 2015, up from 199 in 2014.

On Saturday, anti-immigration protesters, reportedly members of the AfD party, blocked a refugee bus entering an accommodation center in Clausnitz, Saxony making the refugees inside the bus to burst into tears for the unwelcoming and enraged welcome. On Sunday, a crowd of locals cheered as the roof of a refugee shelter went up in flames in Bautzen also in the eastern state of Saxony.

Bus incident

Another thing which drew a lot of criticism in Germany was that police forces in Clausnitz forced the refugees to exit the bus even though outside the protesters were changing anti-welcome slogans.

A video released in YouTube showed a police officer forcibly dragging a 14-year-old boy to leave the bus. In an interview with German broadcaster ARD, Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere defended the decision by local police to forcibly drag the terrified migrants saying that other option was for police not to allow the people in need to enter the accommodation center.

“I can’t recognize criticism of this police operation,” de Maiziere said in an interview and added that the police were right to get all the migrants quickly off the bus and into a nearby shelter. He told ARD that if the bus had been backed away from the refugee shelter, “these bawling people would have had their way.”

Arson in refugee shelter

On Sunday, a fire was set at a former hotel in Bautzen which had been meant to house refugees. According to AP, the police has found traces of a fire accelerant and strongly believes that that the fire was caused by arson.

However, the most shocking report is that the police reported that a crowd of onlookers cheered as the roof of the hotel was being burned. British daily, The Guardian, quoted police as saying that the small crowd “reacted to the arson with derogatory comments and undisguised joy.”

For both occasions many Germans participated in pro-refugee protests welcoming the people in need in Germany and stressing to the people who were glad with the arson that when houses are on fire no one should applaud.

 

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