Brawl breaks out in refugee shel­ter in Ger­many

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY FRANK ZELLER

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

iron

bars,

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.”

AFP

Refugees are seen in their tem­po­rary hous­ing in a for­mer hard­ware store in Ham­burg, Ger­many, Sept. 26.

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