A group of onlookers cheered as the roof of a migrant shelter went up in flames in eastern Saxony, Germany on Sunday. Police oversaw the crowd as they watched the flames in “undisguised joy” and even had to intervene when some of them even tried to stop the firefighters from putting out the flames.
Fortunately, no one was injured in the fire. The hotel was in the process of being converted into a refugee shelter.
Due to the suspicious nature of the incident and the recent hate crimes against refugees, officials are treating it as an arson. There are no official reports of who is responsible yet. However, there are several local groups that could be involved including the anti-Islam, anti-immigration group, Pegida or the anti-immigrant Alternativ fuer Deutschland party.
Three days prior to the fire, the Alternativ fuer Deutschland party orchestrated a protest where a crowd of 100 anti-refugee protesters blocked a bus full of migrants while it was on its way to the shelter in both Clausnitz and Saxony.
The German government condemned the crowd’s behavior on Monday. “I want to say on behalf of the chancellor and the entire government that what happened in Clausnitz is deeply shameful,” said Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert. “How cold-hearted and cowardly one must be to stand in front of a bus with refugees and shout with the aim of frightening the passengers, including women and children.”
Protests have been increasing due to the mass immigration problem in the country. Last year, Germany received 1.1 million asylum-seekers. Citizens have been frustrated with the state of chaos that has ensued from the influx of immigrants. So much so, that this has influenced hate crimes and attacks against migrant shelters.
“This is not something that we can solve with rules from Berlin. It is something that we must, as a society, take a clear stance on. That’s something that we can do. That’s something that each of you can do,” said Seibert.