An “anti-migrant” mob was reportedly cheering as a refugee shelter in Germany burned. The fire occurred as many residents are pushing for their leaders to secure the borders and stop allowing Syrian refugees into the country. A rash of crimes, many of which were sexually charged attacks against women, have occurred in recent months and inflamed tensions between German citizens and the migrants.
Approximately 30 people, some of them allegedly drunk, cheered and clapped as the hotel, turned migrant shelter, burned. The building in Bautzen, Saxony, was in the midst of being turned into a Syrian refugee shelter before flames shot through the roof and halted the project. The shelter would have housed just under 4,000 migrants seeking asylum in Germany.
Migrant Shelter Burns In Germany
Calls for border facilities and the establishment of daily migrant quotas from inside the political party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel have gotten louder in recent days. The number of refugees that would be permitted inside the country on a daily basis, if the measure is approved, is not currently known. Some German leaders have stated that their efforts to achieve a solution to the refugee “crisis” in Europe will continue, but added that their country cannot accomplish the task alone, KRMG News reports.
— Catrin Nye (@CatrinNye) February 21, 2016
German police investigators are considering the burning of the migrant shelter a possible arson case. Fire officials reportedly found traces of a fire accelerant inside the hotel building. Some members of the crowd, which assembled outside of the site of the future Syrian refugee shelter, reportedly hampered efforts of firefighters to squash the blaze.
The anti-migrant mob exhibited “unabashed delight and made disparaging comments” about the shelter and the efforts undertaken by the firefighters to save the building, according to a report in the Telegraph.
Two young men, believed to be in their early 20s, were arrested for allegedly interfering with police officers and firefighters attempting to curtail the migrant shelter fire. Alcohol may have been a factor in the incident.
— Abbie (@Abbie_0019) February 21, 2016
“Those who shamelessly applaud when houses burn and scare refugees to death are displaying disgusting and revolting behaviour,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas stated in a tweet shared on Sunday afternoon.
A local attorney, Heinrich Schleppers, told reporters that the incident at the migrant shelter fire created a feeling of “sheer terror.”
“It [refugee shelter fire and mob mentality] is the sort of thing you just see on the news, but now it has happened in our town. If the perpetrator wanted to create fear by doing this then he has succeeded in his aim,” Schleppers said.
Another resident said: “I was woken up by a very loud noise. I am a child of war, this brings back bad memories.”
— Abbie (@Abbie_0019) February 21, 2016
A Daily Mail report maintains that many Germans have been welcoming to Syrian refugees and migrants from other areas in the Middle East, but a “vocal minority” has ramped up protests against the asylum seekers in recent months. The U.K. media outlet also stated that Saxony is an area where the “anti-Islam and anti-immigration” group, PEGIDA, is active. Incidents involving alleged violence directed at the homes of refugees in the region have reportedly caused concern for law enforcement officials.
Late last summer, a group in Heidenau, a town near Dresden, threw fireworks and bottles at police officers guarding a shelter being revamped to house migrants. Before the Bautzen fire, a group in the Saxony small town of Clausnitz was also the site of a refugee protest. A crowd reportedly shouted, “Go home” and “We are the people” as a bus transporting Syrian refugees to a new shelter pulled into the neighborhood.
Saxony Governor Stanislaw Tillich deemed the two anti-migrant incidents to be both “appalling” and “shocking.” He called the German citizens involved in the incidents criminals that he vowed to be called to account for their actions.
[Image via Sean Gallup/Getty Images]