Hamburg has become the first German city to pass a law allowing the state to seize empty commercial properties for reuse as emergency migrant accommodation. The move comes as more violence is reported in refugee centres across the country.
Called the “Law for the protection of refugees in accommodation facilities ” the legislation was passed last night, just 24-hours after some 200 Syrian and Afghan refugees clashed in a crowded refugee centre in the city, leaving four people injured in the third such riot this week.
The massive influx of migrants has put pressure on a city that is already home to 1.7 million people and authorities have moved to find accommodation for the incomers. Some are sleeping rough outdoors leading to local tensions and inter-ethnic rivalries.
The Hamburg centre that saw the clash between Syrians and Afghans is located in a large former hardware store and houses 800 people, with more recent arrivals sleeping on mattresses outside.
In earlier disturbances in Germany this week, DW news service reports 14 people were injured Sunday in a centre in the central city of Kassel when 70 Pakistanis clashed with 300 Albanians.
On Tuesday, dozens of Syrians and Pakistanis came to blows in a refugee shelter in the eastern city of Dresden.
Hamburg’s law is described as a temporary, emergency measure. Owners of empty commercial properties will be compensated. The law does not include residential properties but the conservative opposition in the city, in the north of Germany, condemned the move.
The authorities in Bremen, a city just west of Hamburg, are considering passing a similar law.
Meanwhile publication of a new survey by broadcaster ARD shows 51 per cent of people said the country’s massive migrant influx scared them. It suggests a four-year low in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s popularity.
She has said Germany can accommodate migrants who have genuinely fled war or persecution. As a result Germany expects to host at least 800,000 asylum seekers this year – about four times the number it had last year.
Overwhelmed authorities in other parts of the country have said that many migrants they are interviewing are pretending to be Syrian to get settled in Germany sooner. Criminal elements are also emerging.
In a September 29 interview with the newspaper Passauer Neue Presse, the head of the German police union (Deutschen Polizeigewerkschaft, DPolG), Rainer Wendt, warned that “brutal criminal structures” have taken over the refugee shelters and that police are overwhelmed and unable to guarantee safety and security. He called for Christians and Muslims to be separated before someone gets killed:
“We have been witnessing this violence for weeks and months. Groups based on ethnicity, religion or clan structures go after each other with knives and homemade weapons… Sunnis are fighting Shiites, there are Salafists from competing groups. They are trying to impose their rules in the shelters. Christians are being massively oppressed and the Sharia is being enforced….”
Breitbart London yesterday reported on the case of the German woman who has been evicted from her home of 16 years by local authorities in the small town of Eschbach in the south-west of the country in order to make room for migrants.
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