Merkel to visit refugee shelter attacked by neo-Nazi mob

AP News
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Posted: Aug 25, 2015 11:12 AM
Merkel to visit refugee shelter attacked by neo-Nazi mob

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit a refugee shelter at the center of recent riots by neo-Nazis, an official said Tuesday, as German leaders seek to address a spate of violence that has accompanied a surge in migrants this year.

Merkel will travel to Heidenau, south of Dresden, on Wednesday to meet refugees, support workers and local officials, her spokesman, Steffen Seibert said.

Dozens of police were injured when a far-right mob hurled bottles and fireworks at officers trying to ensure asylum seekers could move into the repurposed hardware store on Friday and Saturday.

Merkel called the incident "shocking" and "shameful" on Monday.

Germany has seen a surge in refugees coming to the country this year, with officials predicting the number could reach 800,000 by the end of 2015.

While most Germans have been welcoming to the refugees, a minority has vocally opposed them. Attacks against refugees and asylum centers roughly doubled to 202 during the first half of the year, including eight cases of arson.

In Berlin, police said Tuesday they were investigating a weekend incident in which two "highly intoxicated" men yelled anti-foreigner epithets at an eastern European woman and her children on the subway. One of the men then urinated on the 5 and 15-year-old children, police said.

The two men, aged 32 and 37, were arrested but police said they were looking for the woman and other witnesses to the incident.

Also Tuesday, police in the eastern state of Brandenburg said a fire overnight at a gym intended as temporary housing for refugees was likely the result of arson.

Nobody was injured by the fire in Nauen, about 15 kilometers (nine miles) west of Berlin. Far-right protesters have repeatedly demonstrated against the arrival of asylum-seekers there this year.

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David Rising contributed to this story