Germany restores ban on demos in flashpoint eastern state
Germany has reinstated a ban on public gatherings in the flashpoint eastern state of Saxony, which has witnessed violent clashes during anti-refugee demonstrations over the past few days.
An administrative court in Saxony’s capital, Dresden, had ruled on Friday that an earlier prohibition imposed on protests in the region was “clearly illegal.”
However, a few hours later, an appeals court reinstated the ban in the volatile state over the weekend. The German government also announced that it was sending police reinforcements to Saxony following the latest anti-refugee rallies in the town of Heidenau.
The initial decision to ban public gatherings sparked widespread criticisms, with Joerg Radek, the deputy president of Germany’s police union GdP, denouncing the move as “a slap in the face” to those opposing the right-wing propaganda.
Dozens of pro-refugee activists also traveled to Heidenau, shouting “Refugees are welcome here!” with many of them wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan “No one is illegal.”
Asylum shelter torched
In another development on Friday, local police reported an arson attack against an asylum seekers’ shelter in the village of Salzhemmendorf in the northwestern state of Lower Saxony, where assailants threw a Molotov cocktail into a former school building now serving as a refugee home.
A woman and her three children living at the shelter escaped without injury while three suspects were arrested over the incident.
Scuffles initially broke out in Heidenau on August 21 after a protest called by the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany ended in clashes, leaving at least 31 police officers wounded.
Germany has recently witnessed a rise in violent attacks targeting asylum seekers, with 173 such offences reported during the first six months of this year alone.
This is while, according to German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, the European country is bracing for up to 800,000 asylum seekers this year.