Residents of a wealthy Hamburg suburb are protesting that the local government wants to put 2,400 migrants in their neighbourhood.
Eppendorf is an idyllic looking suburb in the German city of Hamburg. The residents are predominantly middle class and were outraged when the local government authority announced that they would be building an asylum home in the area.
One resident named Friedrich Liebetrau isn’t happy that the asylum home, which will house 2,400 migrants, will be built along the Osterfeldstraße close to his home reports Die Welt.
Liebetrau started the initial protest against the asylum accommodation and says that the residents should number no more than 300. He has been outraged by what he views as an uncompromising local government in the city of Hamburg and in his local district.
Earlier this year he organized a campaign against the proposal. He, and the other supporters, were shocked that they were able to receive around 26,000 signatures from people sympathetic to their opinion in only a week.
Unfortunately for the campaigners the signature campaign has no legal weight with the local government, who have said that they had already gone through the correct process needed to build the asylum accommodation. They claimed to have held town-hall type meetings for residents to express their concerns. Since the government has shut them down, the group may have the opportunity to appeal and possibly take the case to court.
Speaking to German media, local resident Monika Allers said, “if 2400 people really come here then every tenth person in Eppendorf would be a refugee.” Allers was one of the founders of the protest campaign along with Liebetrau and expresses severe doubts about the asylum homes or “express apartments” as they are officially called.
“In the quarter something will fundamentally change,” Liebetrau told media, “those responsible never make any thought to how the infrastructure needs to be adapted for such a variety of people,” describing his view that there is simply not enough resources and space to accommodate so many migrants in the area.
He also mentioned the schools in the district are already overcrowded, and of the 2,400 migrants who are scheduled to move to the new home around 1,000 are believed to be children.
Asylum homes in Hamburg are normally built in industrial areas but a controversial law passed last year has allowed authorities to build in other areas as well. Many of the residents feel that their concerns are not taken seriously and complain that the government only informs them after the important events have already taken place.
“This is unworthy of a democracy,” said Allers and said that the attitudes of residents probably won’t change until the flow of migrants stops.
Governments across Europe have placed asylum homes in small towns where the number of migrants has overwhelmed local residents. The town of Oranje in the Netherlands saw 803 migrants being sent to a town of only 100 people. Residents of Oranje protested and took to the streets because they complained, like the residents of Eppendorf, they were only informed after the fact.
A tiny town in Italy was also the location for an asylum home. The migrant residents of the home ended up trashing the town in protests because they didn’t have free wifi which they said they needed to keep in contact with family in their native countries. Residents of Eppendorf are likely fearful of the same kind of behaviour.