Sun, Feb 21, 2016 - Page 6 News List

German mob harangues bus of refugees

‘DISGRACE’:A protester threatened the group inside the bus with a cut-throat gesture, a witness said, while video footage showed police dragging a child off

The Guardian, Berlin

German politicians say they are ashamed after a video emerged of an angry mob harassing a bus carrying refugees as it arrived in the eastern state of Saxony.

The clip, which has been circulating on social media, shows a group of protesters blocking the path of a coach carrying visibly distressed asylum seekers, while chanting “We are the people” and “Go home.” The coach carries a sign saying Reisegenuss, (travel in comfort).

Saxony Minister of the Interior Markus Ulbig, of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic party, said: “As much need for a discussion there may be over the refugee question, I find it deeply shameful to see how people are being treated here.”

The mayor of the municipality where the video was recorded, also said he felt ashamed by the incident, while claiming that the protests were not directed at the refugees themselves.

“This was about politics, not the people themselves,” Rechenberg-Bienenmuhle Mayor Michael Funke said.

According to police reports, 100 anti-refugee protesters gathered on Thursday evening at about 7.20pm outside the asylum seekers’ accommodation in the village of Clausnitz, about 31km south of Dresden. Vehicles were used to block access to the building.

One of the protesters threatened the group inside the bus with a cut-throat gesture, a witness told Freie Presse newspaper. “It’s a disgrace, this hatred people feel towards people they know nothing about,” an anonymous witness said.

Saxony Police spokesman Rafael Scholz said police are investigating verbal threats of violence but there were no arrests.

The coach passengers visible on the video footage, which include women, a boy and an elderly man, were eventually able to move into their accommodation at about 10pm. Another video of the scene shows police manhandling one of the children inside the bus to drag him from the coach into the building.

The group are the first asylum seekers to be allocated to Clausnitz, a town of about 800 residents.

Germany saw an increase in attacks on refugee camps last year. A total of 924 criminal acts directed at asylum seekers’ centers were recorded by the federal crime office, up from 199 in 2014.

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