Germans Having Second Thoughts About Refugees After Major Riots

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Oct 01, 2015 8:20 PM
Germans Having Second Thoughts About Refugees After Major Riots

Many Germans who not too long ago welcomed hundreds of thousands of migrants with open arms are beginning to have a change of heart after a massive riot broke out in the small town of Calden.

In this quaint municipality of 3,000 inhabitants, the chaos started at lunchtime Sunday when a 19-year-old Albanian cut in the food line at the town’s new tent city, prompting a reprimand from a 43-year-old Pakistani. Pushes degenerated into punches. Soon, 300 migrants wielding pepper spray and metal pipes were attacking each other in rival mobs.

A caravan of ambulances and SWAT team vans careened down streets lined with gawking residents. More than 50 police officers struggled for hours to restore order, with three hospitalized with injuries, according to witnesses and local officials.

“You know, when the refugees started coming, I was one of those who saw people needing help and I thought we have to help,” Harry Kloska told The Washington Post.

“But it’s been weeks [since the refugee camp opened], and I have a different opinion now,” he added. “I am not sure that we’re going to be able to do this, to help so many people from so many different countries.”

Riots also broke out in Hamburg, Germany at two other refugee camps; one of which involved roughly 100 migrants who were using wooden planks as weapons that took more than a dozen police units to stop.

Beyond the responses to the riots that have broken out, the rapid influx of migrants is making some Germans not only upset, but more fearful too. 

Nevertheless, nervous residents say they have started locking their doors at night. In town, one mother angrily complained that the newcomers sexually harassed her 17-year old daughter at a bus stop. “Of course we are afraid,” she said.

Mayor Maik Mackewitz said “several young women” have stopped jogging in the nearby woods “because they are afraid of all these groups of men walking around.”

The local Edeka grocery store, meanwhile, has hired security guards for the first time because of concerns that refugees open packages of food without paying, the mayor said. On a recent afternoon, the store’s new guards were unsuccessfully trying to eject six beer-drinking Albanian migrants from a bench in the parking lot as two elderly German women tut-tutted nearby.

“[C]ompared to some cities in the east of Germany, the people here were welcoming at first,” one former Germany army officer told the Post. “But you see the good will decreasing, and what you have instead is fear.”