Brawl breaks out in refugee shelter in Germany
A mass brawl broke out in a crowded refugee center in Germany, Europe’s top destination for people fleeing war and poverty, as the U.N. warned Thursday the unprecedented migrant influx may yet grow.
As the conflicts in Syria and Afghanistan driving the mass migration intensify, the U.N. refugee agency predicted 700,000 people would reach Europe via the Mediterranean this year and “possibly even higher numbers” would come in 2016.
More than half of those who have made it to Europe have been Syrians fleeing their country’s four-year civil war. Many have headed to Germany, which took in 280,000 migrants last month, more than in all of last year.
Tensions have repeatedly flared in the over-crowded apartment blocks, army barracks, tent cities, former supermarkets and other shelters where Germany has been accommodating them.
Some 200 Syrians and Afghans clashed overnight in a Hamburg refugee center, a former hardware store now sheltering 800 people, leaving four people injured, police said.
Fifty police were called in to contain the violence, which reportedly broke out after an argument in a shower block and saw two groups attack each other with rocks.
In earlier such disturbances, 14 people were injured Sunday when 70 Pakistanis clashed with 300 Albanians in a shelter in the central city of Kassel, before dozens of Syrians and Pakistanis came to blows Tuesday in a camp in the eastern city of Dresden.
Such trouble — though still relatively rare, given the massive numbers — has
furniture and raised fears of worse to come as the inflow continues unabated and some migrants grow increasingly frustrated with long waits in tough conditions.
Police union chief Rainer Wendt has proposed separating refugees by religion and nationality — an idea quickly rejected by most lawmakers — but Thursday again warned that in some shelters “there are religious conflicts, inter-ethnic conflicts and criminals.”
Refugees are seen in their temporary housing in a former hardware store in Hamburg, Germany, Sept. 26.