Sunday, February 21, 2016

Germany migrant shelter fire 'cheered by onlookers'

A fire which broke out at a building planned to house migrants in eastern Germany was greeted with cheers from some onlookers, police say.

The fire in the town of Bautzen in the early hours of Sunday morning destroyed the roof of a former hotel, which was being converted into a migrant shelter.

  • Police said some of the crowd tried to prevent firefighters from extinguishing the blaze, which destroyed the roof.
  • The premier of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, described them as "criminals".

Police suspect arson. The investigation includes detectives who normally deal with extremist crimes. No-one was hurt.

'Unashamed delight'

Only a few days ago, protesters in another Saxon town, Clausnitz, blocked the arrival of a bus taking migrants to accommodation.

They shouted, "We are the people", the slogan of the 1989 peaceful uprising which led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany.

The director of the Clausnitz migrant shelter is a member of the anti-immigrant Alternativ fuer Deutschland (AfD) party.

Police in Bautzen said many in the crowd watched the fire and commented with "unashamed delight". Two drunken men were arrested after they refused to leave the scene.

The converted hotel was supposed to house 300 migrants.

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