Germany Demonstrates 'Great Potential for Violence' Over Refugees

© AFP 2023 / Christof StacheMigrants arrive at the first registration point for asylum seekers in Erding near Munich, southern Germany, on November 15, 2016
Migrants arrive at the first registration point for asylum seekers in Erding near Munich, southern Germany, on November 15, 2016 - Sputnik International
An anti-migrant demonstration took place last Saturday in the German city of Cottbus following two knife attacks against local residents, which were presumably committed by Syrian refugees. During the rally, several journalists were assaulted. Sputnik discussed the incidents with local officials and politicians.

Several attacks on journalists took place during a recent rally in Germany's Cottbus which was attended by representatives of Germany's right-wing groups, including the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party and Pegida.

Although no one was injured, the demonstration, whose activists protested against the inflow of refugees after young migrants recently attacked local residents with knives, has become a new challenge for the country's authorities in dealing with the migration crisis.

Cottbus Authorities Condemned the Incidents

Spokesman for the city authorities, Jan Glossmann, called the security incidents that took place in Cottbus "bad precedents".

"Citizens should not face such situations. Together with the police and the federal state authorities, we reacted accordingly and took new measures," Glossmann told Sputnik Germany.

Among other things, there have been changes in the management of law enforcement personnel, the official said.

"Employees of law enforcement agencies, police and foreign affairs agencies will be reorganized; they will be more actively represented. We also want to be present in schools and act proactively. Thus, we want to show that we are here for our citizens," he added.

Alternative for Germany: Attacks Are Unacceptable From Any Side

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Vice-chairman of the AfD faction in Brandenburg's regional parliament Birgit Bessin held a speech during the demonstration.

She described the rally as peaceful and said that it was attended by almost all generations, even families with children.

The politician also expressed sharp criticism when commenting on assaults on journalists.

"Attacks are unacceptable on any side," Bessin argued.

Left Party: We Should Have More Objective Debates

The head of the Left party's faction in the Cottbus assembly of deputies, Chris Neumann, said that the spirits during the demonstration were "heated".

Attacks on journalists demonstrated "a great potential for violence," but Neumann's particular concern was the fact that the rally was attended by "people who previously had nothing in common": concerned citizens with partly justified claims on the one hand, and members of far-right groups on the other.

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According to the politician, it is necessary to better deal with the causes of violence, rather than just condemn it.

"When I see how a 14 or 16 year old young man is ready to commit such an act of violence, when he snatches a knife and inflicts wounds directly onto the face of another person, just a passer-by, then I want to know what happened to this man, this teenager, that made him capable of such actions at such a young age," Neumann said.

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The security situation with regard to refugees in Germany has raised serious concerns lately among the local population.

On January 12, Syrian teenagers attacked a German couple in a shopping center in Cottbus. The group of young people reportedly provoked a dispute with the couple, when one of the young people, a 14-year-old migrant, took out a knife and attacked the 51-year-old man. Only the intervention of an eyewitness prevented a terrifying outcome.

Last week, another knife attack took place at in Cottbus with a young Syrian man having wounded a 16-year-old local. The German teen was left with facial injuries.

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