German gang fights migrants

Bautzen has proved ill equipped to deal with an influx of migrants. Source: Wikimedia

Far-right gangs have clashed with migrants in the eastern German town of Bautzen amid rising xenophobia.

Around 80 extremists fought with some 20 asylum seekers in the town about 50km east of Dresden.

The attacks were believed to have been triggered by an incident on Tuesday when a 32-year-old resident was reportedly injured after being hit by a bottle.

Migrants reportedly hurled missiles at police, including bottles, when they were asked to leave the square before the fighting broke out. Witnesses said a mob was chanting anti-migrant slogans, such as “Bautzen for the Germans”, before the violence broke out.

A video appears to show refugees being escorted back to their hostel under police guard.

Police said one Moroccan man, 18, was being treated in hospital for cuts to his face. Bautzen mayor Alexander Ahrens condemned the violence and promised to investigate the incident.

He posted on Facebook that he was “angry and disgusted”. The town has become flashpoint for anti-refugee sentiment.

In February, residents cheered when a building due to house migrants was ignited into flames.

Germany’s President Joachim Gauck was verbally abused in Bauzen during a visit to discuss the migrant issue.

Meanwhile, a restaurant manager in Bielefeld, northern Germany, has sparked a social media controversy after expelling a woman who was wearing niqab.

Christian Schulz of the Seekrug restaurant said on Facebook that he had “deleted two of my posts with nearly 800 comments”.

The comments on his page were overwhelmingly supportive and he strongly denied claims of “racism”.

It was reported that he employed staff from Nigeria, Ghana, Pakistan and Portugal and he had claimed in the past to have expelled customers for wearing Thor Steinar apparel, which is apparently popular with far-right extremists.

The niqab and full-body burka are widely viewed as symbols of conservative Islam. The Seekrug serves alcoholic drinks and pork, which are outlawed to Muslims.

The niqab-clad woman entered the restaurant on Saturday as hundreds of people attended the Seekrug to mark the Festival of Light. Schulz said he had asked her to show her face, she refused and allegedly “got abusive” before leaving.

He was targeted with abuse and negative comments online. Germany’s media reported that some of the abusive messages came from newly set up accounts, suggesting a coordinated campaign. He subsequently defended himself on Facebook: “This is all getting too much for me. On Saturday I merely enforced my right as a restaurant manager.”

Gok Han posted his support on Facebook: “I’m Turkish and my religion is Islam. But… to walk into a beer garden as a Muslim and fully veiled – I’d also find that pretty weird! You shouldn’t enter a social place where alcohol is being consumed! That’s just not on.”

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