RIGHT-WING rioters yesterday attacked police in front of an asylum shelter near Dresden for the second night in a row with firecrackers, stones and bottles.
German news agency dpa reported that two police officers were injured while protecting a new asylum centre in Heidenau in eastern Germany. About 600 asylum seekers are to move into the former warehouse on the outskirts of Heidenau. Some 120 people moved in Saturday amid strong police protection. On Friday night, 31 police were injured when rioters blocked the road to the asylum home.
German lawmakers have condemned the increasing violence toward refugees. So far, Germany has been largely welcoming to the tens of thousands of refugees arriving each month but the attacks on them and on refugee shelters have been on the rise.
Meanwhile in Macedonia, thousands of beleaguered migrants - mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans fleeing bloody conflicts - crammed into trains and buses that brought them one step closer to the European Union yesterday a day after they stormed past police trying to block them from entering the country from Greece.
On Saturday, some 2,000 rain-soaked migrants rushed past baton-wielding Macedonian officers, who had been sealing the border for three days. Police fired stun grenades and dozens of people were injured as the migrants leapt over barbed wire or ran across a field not protected by the fence to enter Macedonia.
After the incident, police decided to allow migrants to cross the border freely again from Greece, which is also overwhelmed by the human tide. Police officials said that the blockade was imposed to try and stem the overflow of people that had caused chaotic scenes at a railway station in the Macedonian town of Gevgelija as thousands tried to secure places on overcrowded train.
Yesterday the migrants - many with children and babies - orderly boarded trains and buses that took them to the border with Serbia before heading farther north toward EU-member Hungary, which is building a razor wire fence on its frontier to prevent them from entering. If they manage to enter Hungary, the migrants could travel freely across the borders of most of the 28 EU-member states.
The more than 5,000 migrants who reached Serbia overnight faced an overcrowded refugee centre where they have to apply for asylum - the paper that allows them three days to reach Hungary. State Serbian TV said that a woman gave birth overnight inside the centre and that many people are sick and injured from Saturday’s clashes.
“A huge number of people have arrived and we expect the same intensity in the next day or two,” said Serbian Defence Minister Bratislav Gasic, who toured the area yesterday.
Emina, a migrant from Syria who boarded an early morning train with her two-month-old baby, blamed Macedonian authorities for “harassing” the migrants, not giving them food or water, as well as holding them back at the border.