Twelve policemen were injured and some 20 neo-Nazi vandals arrested Saturday night in Rostock, a northern German town, in one of the most serious attacks against foreigners living in this country.
The trouble began when hundreds of right-wing extremists, many of them masked, marched to a regional center for asylum-seekers, threatening the refugees and calling for expelling them from Germany.
The demonstrators, who included many Skinheads, threw firebombs and stones and over-turned two police cars, which they set on fire. The melee lasted eight hours.
According to witnesses, inhabitants of the town, which is situated in the former East Germany, encouraged the neo-Nazis to attack the foreigners.
This reminded many observers of the late 1990 incident in Hoyerswerda, Saxony, when local inhabitants applauded neo-Nazis who registered a successful campaign to rid the town of asylum-seekers.
In Rostock, the neo-Nazis organized a demonstration to protest the policy of receiving asylum-seekers from various countries and allowing them to stay until decisions were taken on their applications.
Hundreds of police were deployed to protect the frightened refugees, who were told not to leave their quarters. The police used tear gas, clubs and even a water cannon to contain the violence.
One police officer described the situation as very dangerous, since the attackers had almost succeeded in making their way to a complex of buildings where the refugees were staying.
He added: “They were very violent and well-equipped. They would have done anything to promote their goal of driving the foreigners out of this town.”
The asylum hostel in Rostock is reportedly slated to be closed down Sept. 1 following many complaints from the city’s citizens about noise and filth there.
On Sunday morning, another grave incident was reported in Koeckto, a small town in eastern Germany. Dozens of neo-Nazis attacked a hostel for asylum-seekers but were repelled by police.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.