Germans braced for neo-Nazi backlash over immigrants

Locals gather with migrants seeking asylum in Germany for a welcome fest at the migrants shelter on August 28, 2015 in Heidenau. Picture: Getty Images

Locals gather with migrants seeking asylum in Germany for a welcome fest at the migrants shelter on August 28, 2015 in Heidenau. Picture: Getty Images

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GERMAN authorities were last night bracing themselves for possible far-right violence in the eastern state of Saxony at the weekend, with Chancellor Angela Merkel promising federal support for local police, after a court issued a blanket ban on public assembly in the town of Heidenau.

Local authorities had imposed the ban to prevent a repeat of neo-Nazi riots seen outside a refugee shelter last weekend, in which dozens of police officers were injured.

Johannes Dimroth, a spokesman for Germany’s interior ministry, said federal police would be sent to Heidenau to support local forces. He was unable immediately to say how many officers would be deployed.

Supporters of refugees plan to hold a welcome party in Heidenau, where far-right groups had also called for protests at the site yesterday.

“We’ve already made one step in the right direction,” with the decision to provide help, Ms Merkel said, adding that federal authorities would “do everything within their power in order to support the Saxony police.”

More generally, Ms Merkel said European Union interior ministers meeting this weekend would be looking into “rapid changes to the asylum system.”

She said Greece and Italy needed to be supported with common registration centres equipped with “European-wide personnel,” but also with the assurance that the migrants coming in would then be distributed around Europe.

Germany, which expects some 800,000 migrants this year, has complained many others in Europe aren’t pulling their weight in dealing with the influx.

“There has to be a fair distribution of refugees and asylum seekers who are deemed eligible,” she said, speaking at a press conference with Danish prime minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen.

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