Ger­man gov’t con­demns ri­ots out­side shel­ters


Ger­many’s gov­ern­ment on Mon­day de­nounced the far-right protests out­side a refugee shel­ter in which dozens of po­lice were in­jured by a neo-Nazi mob hurl­ing bot­tles and fire­works at of­fi­cers try­ing to en­sure asy­lum seek­ers could move in.

Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel had been crit­i­cized by com­men­ta­tors in Ger­many over the week­end for fail­ing to speak out swiftly against the at­tacks, which be­gan Fri­day night.

“The chan­cel­lor and the en­tire gov­ern­ment con­demn in the strong­est pos­si­ble terms the vi­o­lent at­tacks and the ag­gres­sive anti-for­eigner sen­ti­ment cre­ated there,” Merkel’s spokesman St­ef­fen Seib­ert told re­porters. “It’s re­pul­sive how far-right ex­trem­ists and neo-Nazis are try­ing to spread their hol­low mes­sage of ha­tred around a refugee shel­ter, and it’s shame­ful how cit­i­zens, even fam­i­lies with chil­dren, are sup­port­ing this spec­ta­cle by march­ing along.”

Hun­dreds of peo­ple took part in a peace­ful march out­side the re­pur­posed hard­ware store in Hei­de­nau, south of Dres­den, on Fri­day evening. But hours later some of the protesters be­gan at­tack­ing po­lice who seemed un­pre­pared for the vi­o­lence.

Dres­den po­lice spokesman Thomas Gei­th­ner told The As­so­ci­ated Press that 35 of­fi­cers were in­jured try­ing to pro­tect the site from neo-Nazi ri­ot­ers. By Sun­day, when left-wing protesters drawn to Hei­de­nau clashed with neoNazis, po­lice had stepped up their pres­ence from 140 to 250 of­fi­cers, Gei­th­ner said.

The in­te­rior min­is­ter for the state of Sax­ony, where Hei­de­nau is lo­cated, said author­i­ties have now put in place spe­cial equip­ment al­low­ing them to check the iden­ti­ties of any­one around the site.

Merkel’s deputy vis­ited Hei­de­nau on Mon­day to meet with refugees, town res­i­dents and lo­cal of­fi­cials. Vice Chan­cel­lor Sig­mar Gabriel told re­porters that the coun­try “can­not give one mil­lime­ter of room” to rightwing ex­trem­ism.

At­tacks against asy­lum seek­ers in Ger­many have in­creased sharply over the past year as the coun­try faces a grow­ing stream of peo­ple seek­ing refuge from war and per­se­cu­tion. Of­fi­cials say there were some 202 such at­tacks in the first six months of 2015, as many as dur­ing the whole pre­vi­ous year. The gov­ern­ment says it ex­pects 800,000 peo­ple to seek asy­lum in Ger­many by the end of 2015.


Po­lice clash with left-wing sym­pa­thiz­ers as they protest against far-right protesters on Sun­day, Aug. 23, in Hei­de­nau, Ger­many. The protesters clashed the night be­fore with po­lice amid the open­ing of a refugee lodg­ing cen­ter.

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