A German far-right group has launched a vigilante street patrol in a Bavarian town where four Afghan and Iranian asylum seekers allegedly attacked passers-by last weekend, local authorities said Thursday.
The mayor of Amberg, Michael Cerny, said he was “shocked” after the extremist NPD party posted photos online of four people wearing red protective vests to create “safe spaces,” including outside a refugee center.
“I can understand the insecurity seen in some of the reactions of some Ambergers, but the hatred and the threats of violence from all over the country go way too far,” Cerny told the local daily Mittelbayerische Zeitung.
Police said they were investigating the reports, which included a group calling itself “Kraut/pol” accusing town authorities in an email of failing to protect the citizens of Amberg.
Why This Matters
Last Saturday, police detained four men from Afghanistan and Iran, aged 17 to 19, who had allegedly drunkenly attacked passers-by at random.
Twelve people aged 16 to 42 suffered mostly minor injuries, and a 17-year-old was treated for head wounds in hospital.
The case revived a simmering debate over immigration, integration, and crime that has flared since the mass influx of over one million asylum seekers from 2015.
The newspaper said the suspects included an Afghan man with an ongoing asylum request and three rejected asylum seekers — an Iranian who has no passport, an Afghan who is underage, and another Afghan with an ongoing appeal against his deportation order.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer — head of Bavaria state’s CSU party, who has been highly critical of Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s liberal stance on immigration — called for speedy expulsions of immigrants who break the law.
The CSU’s parliamentary leader, Alexander Dobrindt, said he “sharply condemns” the original street violence as well as the fact that “certain extremist groups” were seeking to instrumentalize the attacks.
A spokeswoman for Merkel had Wednesday condemned the assaults in Amberg as well as a xenophobic attack by a 50-year-old unemployed German who steered his car into groups of immigrants on New Year’s Eve. One of those attacks, in the city of Bottrop, left eight people injured, including a four-year-old Afghan boy and a 10-year-old Syrian girl.
German far-right AfD member of the Bundestag wants to lift the ban on death penalty in Germany pic.twitter.com/MXzKh6rzE5
— Marcel Dirsus (@marceldirsus) December 30, 2018
More on the Subject
Remarks or questions like “Where are you originally from?”, “Why is your German so good?” or “You are not German” are a part of everyday life for many migrant families in a country where 23.6 percent of the more than 82 million population have a migration background. Inspired by the #metoo anti-sexual harassment initiative, the new hashtag #metwo raises awareness of discrimination and a sort of estrangement that is taking place in Germany.