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Germany: Far-right protesters target asylum centre

Police officers injured protecting refugees at Dresden shelter

POLICE beat back far-right rioters intent on storming an asylum shelter near Dresden for the second time yesterday.

Two police officers were injured defending the emergency centre for refugees from the fascist assault, which saw officers pelted with firecrackers, stones and bottles.

The former warehouse in Heidenau has been prepared to house 600 asylum-seekers, but on Friday night when the first were due to arrive a 1,000-strong demonstration of “concerned citizens” — many brandishing flags and banners of the neonazi National Democratic Party — marched through the small Saxony town.

Others built barricades on the roads leading to the centre, attempting to stop coaches with refugees on board getting through.

The 120 asylum-seekers who arrived at the centre on Saturday “were only able to reach the emergency shelter under the protection of the police,” according to Germany’s socialist daily newspaper Junge Welt.

The Saxon Left Party noted that Saturday marked 23 years since the Rostock-Lichtenhagen riots, postwar Germany’s largest-scale outbreak of racist violence where hundreds of neonazis attacked a shelter housing Roma fleeing the wave of persecution that followed the restoration of capitalism in Romania.

“These people are being spurred on by ‘freeloader’ and ‘the boat is full’ rhetoric, just as in 1992,” the party warned.

“Real arsonists tend to follow intellectual arsonists.”

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere slammed the racist rioting as “unworthy of our country.

“Everyone who thinks like that should try just for a moment to put themselves in the position of the refugees.”

But Left Party spokeswoman Ulla Jelpke noted that “refugees will come in large numbers as long as the causes of flight exist.

“For wars and civil wars, poverty and lack of opportunity in the countries of origin, the European Union and the Federal Republic bear a responsibility.

“Millions flee their homes when sovereign states are bombed like Libya or break down in a mercenary war fuelled by European arms like Syria.

“Hundreds of thousands see their salvation in flight to the EU when Europe imposes neoliberal privatisation policies on the Balkans, causing mass unemployment and poverty, and when European fishing fleets empty African coastal waters.”

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