Tuesday 18 June 2019

Far-right vigilantes patrolling small German town after attack by migrants

The town hall of Amberg, southern German. Photo: Getty Images
The town hall of Amberg, southern German. Photo: Getty Images

Justin Huggler

Groups of far-right vigilantes have taken to the streets of a small Bavarian town following a series of violent assaults by migrants, the mayor warned yesterday.

Michael Cerny, the mayor of Amberg, said vigilante groups had been seen patrolling the town after a group of four migrants attacked several people in a series of unprovoked street assaults last weekend.

The far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) posted pictures and video on Facebook of its members patrolling the streets of Amberg in high visibility vests bearing the slogan "Protection Zones".

The NPD has been widely accused of being neo-Nazi, white supremacist and anti-Semitic.

Michael Cerny, mayor of Amberg, southern Germany. Photo: Getty Images
Michael Cerny, mayor of Amberg, southern Germany. Photo: Getty Images

The German government has made repeated unsuccessful attempts to have the party banned by the courts, most recently in 2016.

"When we say we will create protection zones in Amberg, we mean it," the NPD wrote on Facebook. The patrols follow a series of assaults last Saturday in which a group of four migrants set upon several people in the streets of Amberg.

The migrants, who are believed to be from Afghanistan and Iran, appeared to be looking for a fight and falsely accused some of those they attacked of insulting them, according to witnesses.

Twelve people aged between 16 and 42 were injured. Most of the injuries were minor, but one 17-year-old had to be admitted to hospital with a head wound. The four migrants were arrested on the evening of the assaults and remain in police custody.

Mr Cerny, the mayor of Amberg, spoke of his fear vigilantes were travelling to the town from elsewhere in Germany and that the situation could get out of hand.

"I can understand the uncertainty that I see in the reactions of some local people, but this hatred and the threats of violence coming from all over the country are going too far," he told the local 'Mittelbayerischen Zeitung' newspaper.

It is not the first time there have been claims of vigilante groups responding to migrant violence in Germany. Last August video footage emerged of vigilantes attacking people of foreign appearance in the city of Chemnitz, after a local man was stabbed to death.

Angela Merkel's spokesman described the Chemnitz vigilantes as "hunting foreigners".

Hans-Georg Maassen, the then head of Germany domestic intelligence, questioned the authenticity of the footage but was later forced to step down when it emerged he had no evidence to back his claims.

In 2016 video emerged of vigilantes dragging an Iraqi asylum-seeker out of a supermarket and trying him to a tree. It later emerged the Iraqi was a psychiatric patient. (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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