Home / Uncategorized / Germany ‘arson attack’ destroys planned asylum shelter

Germany ‘arson attack’ destroys planned asylum shelter

39Police in Germany say a school sports hall intended as a temporary shelter for asylum seekers has burned down in a suspected arson attack.
Investigators believe the fire in Nauen, west of Berlin, was started deliberately. No-one was injured.
Far-right protesters have demonstrated against asylum seekers in the area.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier condemned violent protests at an asylum shelter in the eastern town of Heidenau, near Dresden, at the weekend.
Dozens of police officers were injured in the clashes.
Mrs Merkel has described the behaviour of far-right activists in Heidenau as “abhorrent” and “shameful” and said she would be visiting the town on Wednesday.
Correspondents say most Germans have been welcoming to asylum seekers, but a small minority has been vocal in its opposition.
Also on Tuesday, the headquarters of the Social Democrat Party (SPD) in Berlin were evacuated after a bomb threat.
It is not clear who was behind the threat but the party’s General Secretary Yasmin Fahimi said the party had received many other threats from right-wing extremists after party chairman and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel visited Heidenau on Monday.
Image caption Emergency crews could not stop the flames from razing the gym to the ground
Germany expects up to 800,000 people to seek asylum by the end of 2015.
The government in Berlin confirmed on Tuesday that it had decided to consider asylum cases from the majority of Syrian applicants, regardless of how they entered Europe.
It announced on Twitter (in German) that it was suspending the EU’s Dublin regulation, under which asylum seekers must make their applications in the first member state they reach.
The blaze in Nauen gutted the gymnasium – part of a vocational school – in the early hours of Tuesday.
The building, about 15km (9 miles) west of Berlin, was due to house some 130 people applying for asylum in Germany, reports say.
Police said it was “highly unlikely” that the fire was caused by a technical fault and instead were treating it as an arson attack.
Dietmar Woidke, state premier for Brandenburg where Nauen is located, on Tuesday promised a zero tolerance approach to “any form of xenophobia”.
Vowing to bring the fire’s perpetrators to justice, he said actions against asylum seekers were “shameful and unworthy of Germany”.
Another planned shelter was burned down in the south-western town of Weissach im Tal, near Stuttgart, on Monday. Police are again investigating the possibility it could have been started deliberately.