German far-right protesters clash with opponents over refugees

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 25, 2015 1:30 PM

By Michael Nienaber

BERLIN (Reuters) - Two people were wounded when far-right protesters against the expansion of refugee accommodation in the east German city of Frankfurt an der Oder clashed with counter-demonstrators on Saturday, police said.

The evening before, three people were wounded and one person arrested in Dresden, about 190 km (118 miles) away, when around 100 supporters of the right-wing party NPD had an altercation with opponents, police said.

Germany is having to accommodate a record-breaking number of asylum-seekers this year as ever greater numbers flee conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and Africa. The country expects to receive about 450,000 asylum applications in 2015, more than double from 2014 when around 200,000 people applied.

The government is worried about growing hostility toward immigrants, which has led to demonstrations and some violence toward refugees, including attacks on refugee accommodation.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been more than 200 assaults on anti-refugee shelters -- already more than in the whole of 2014.

"As a state, we are swamped with the sheer number of people," Matthias Kahl, deputy interior minister in the east German state of Brandenburg, home to Frankfurt an der Oder, told Reuters in the city of Eisenhuettenstadt.

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"The authorities are overwhelmed with building shelters and housing the people and the communities are overwhelmed with accommodating the children in kindergartens and schools."

This weekend, volunteers from organizations including the Red Cross began setting up tents for refugees who could not be housed in designated shelters due to a shortage of places.

(Additional reporting by Michele Sani; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)