Angela Merkel booed by anti-immigration protesters

Protesters boo Germany’s Angela Merkel visiting refugee site that has recently been home to anti-immigration protests for government’s migrant policies

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on Wednesday, was booed by some protesters against the government's refugee policies during her visit to a shelter for refugees in Heideneu which was the focus of clashes at the weekend.

The visit came amid heightening tensions around asylum seeker crisis countrywide.

Over the weekend, violent clashes between anti-refugee protesters and police erupted outside a hardware store in the eastern German town of Heidenau which is used as a shelter for hundreds of migrants, many of whom are Syrians.

The chancellor has condemned the violent protests in the eastern town of Heidenau as "repulsive".

During the boo protests, neo-Nazis and other right-wing extremists hurled bottles and fireworks injuring dozens of police officers.

The protesters who do not want the former hardware store to be used as an asylum shelter shouted accusing the chancellor of "treason".

Germany that has seen a sharp rise in attacks on asylum centres expects up to 800,000 asylum applications in 2015 - more than any other EU country.

EU struggling with refugees and asylum

The influx of migrants  from Syria and North Africa hoping to reach Europe is already much higher than in the same period in 2014.

Almost 50,000 migrants arrived on the Greek islands in July alone, mostly Syrians, the EU's border agency said.

According to United Nations reports, the number of migrants reaching Greece by sea had reached 158,000 by mid-August overtaking the 90,000 who arrived in Italy by sea.

The majority heading for Greece via the eastern Mediterranean route take the relatively short voyage from the Turkish mainland to the islands of Kos, Chios, Lesvos and Samos.

In November 2014, Italy ended its search-and-rescue mission, called "Mare Nostrum" which was replaced by a cheaper and more limited EU operation called "Triton" that focuses on patrolling within 30 nautical miles of the Italian coast.

Aid organisations report that the scaling down of the rescue effort has put more migrants' lives at risk.

In April, EU leaders pledged to beef up maritime patrols in the Mediterranean, disrupt people trafficking networks and capture and destroy boats before migrants board them, but any military action would have to conform with international law.

EU countries are divided over how to cope with the refugee problem as championing the rights of  migrants is difficult as the economic climate is still gloomy in Europe leaving many Europeans unemployed and watchful against foreign worker rush.


TRTWorld and agencies