Friday 17 November 2017

German 'far-right' activists clash with asylum seekers

Chancellor Merkel
Chancellor Merkel

Justin Huggler Berlin

Far-right protesters blocked an ambulance reaching an injured asylum seeker after violent clashes broke out between the two groups in an east German town.

Witnesses in the town of Bautzen described running street battles between teenage asylum seekers throwing bottles and far-right protesters shouting neo-Nazi slogans.

More than 100 police officers were needed to end the violence between around 80 far-right activists and some 20, mostly teenage, asylum-seekers, at least two of whom were injured.

The clashes in the town of around 40,000 people began at around 8.50pm on Wednesday evening in the Kornmarkt, a central square.

"When the police arrived, a crowd of around 80 young men and women had gathered. The apparently violent persons were largely from the far-right," the police said in a statement.

"They chanted slogans that Bautzen and the Kornmarkt belong to Germans. Ranged opposite them was a group of around 20 young asylum-seekers. Verbal and physical altercations had already taken place between the two groups. Witnesses described bottle throwing and bodily injuries," polive said.

According to eyewitnesses the clashes began earlier in the evening when police tried to move on a group of teenage asylum seekers from the square.

Residents at a government shelter for young refugees in the town have reportedly been causing trouble in the square for some weeks, behaving drunkenly and throwing bottles.

The teenage migrants refused to move on and some were violent towards the police, said Andrea Kubank, a local resident. A group of far-right protesters quickly gathered at the scene.

"They rushed up to the police and refugees chanting 'This is our Bautzen', 'Foreigners out' and 'This is our Nazi neighbourhood'," Ms Kubank said. "Everyday racism is very common in Bautzen," Ms Kubank added.

The asylum seekers attacked police with bottles and wooden boards, according to an official police statement. Police ordered the asylum seekers back to the government shelter, where all 32 residents were told to remain inside for their own safety.

Messages have now been circulating on far-right websites calling for further actions against the asylum-seekers.

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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