15 September 2016
German police on Thursday broke up a violent brawl between right-wing extremists and asylum seekers in the eastern town of Bautzen, highlighting the growing unrest in Germany over the refugee policies of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
A police spokesman said that some 80 local men and women and about 20 asylum seekers clashed in a square in the town centre.
The locals were heard shouting that the town belongs to them and chanting the slogan “Wir sind das Volk’’ (We are the people).
The word was first coined by anti-Communist demonstrators before the fall of the Berlin Wall but used more recently during anti-immigration protests.
Police spokesman Thomas Knaup said that some of the asylum seekers threw bottles and other objects at the officers, who responded with mace and batons and erected a barrier to separate the two groups.
Knaup added that the altercation continued throughout the night in other parts of the town and that police were forced to seal off a refugee accommodation to prevent further violence.
“One 18-year-old resident required hospital treatment for cuts to his face,’’ police said.
They said that when an ambulance arrived at the scene, it was pelted with stones by right-wing extremists and a second one had to be called before the Moroccan national could be taken to hospital.
Bautzen has become the scene of several right-wing protests against refugees in recent months.
In February, an extremist mob cheered at a blazing refugee accommodation in the Saxon town and prevented fire fighters from dousing the flames.
Opposition to Merkel’s open-door refugee policy has reached a fever pitch in Germany, which took in some 1.1 million migrants in 2015.