Merkel vows no tolerance for 'vile' attacks on migrants

HEIDENAU (Germany) • Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday vowed that Germany would have "no tolerance" for "shameful and vile" attacks on asylum seekers, after a wave of violent protests against them.

"There will be no tolerance of those who question the dignity of other people," she said in the small eastern town of Heidenau which saw far-right riots against police guarding a new refugee shelter.

Around 200 people jeered Dr Merkel, shouting far-right slogans including "traitor, traitor" and "we are the mob".

Tensions were already high over the opening of a new shelter for asylum seekers in a former DIY store, after Dr Merkel's Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel had blasted far-right protesters as a "mob" during a visit on Monday.

Dr Merkel was welcomed by Saxony State Premier Stanislaw Tillich and the town's mayor Juergen Opitz and later held talks with refugees and social workers at the centre.

The German leader on Monday condemned as "vile" violent demonstrations in Heidenau against refugees amid criticism that she has failed to forcefully address anti-migrant sentiment.

Two other refugee shelters in Germany have been hit by anti-migrant protests.

A man was seen flinging a Molotov cocktail into a refugee home in the eastern city of Leipzig which was due to house 56 asylum seekers from yesterday, police said.

Only a mattress was burned as a witness was able to raise the alarm swiftly.

Meanwhile, in the town of Parchim, also in eastern Germany, police arrested two men who had charged into a refugee shelter wielding a knife. Several residents, who were outside when the incident took place, alerted the police after noticing that one of the two suspects was holding a 20.5cm knife. Both were shouting anti-migrant comments.

Germany's government plans to double funding this year to help towns cope with record numbers of refugees, moving to tackle an issue that is straining resources and fuelling social tensions.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'Merkel vows no tolerance for 'vile' attacks on migrants'. Print Edition | Subscribe