German police raid migrant shelter over deportation of asylum seeker

Hundreds of German police officers raided a shelter for migrants in the small town of Ellwangen, in the southern German state of Baden-Württemberg on 3 May.

The raid took place three days after residents of the shelter had resisted officers’ attempt to enforce the deportation of an asylum seeker from Togo.

Police said they were forced to release the migrant due for deportation when residents of the hostel surrounded and threatened them and damaged one of their cars.

“They were massively prevented from doing so, violently, by about 150 to 200 African refugees,” Bernhard Weber, a senior officer at the local police force, told reporters.
“It was very simple at first, until the four officers tried to leave, when hundreds of people prevented them.”

The 23-year-old Togolese man, identified by media as Yussif O., was recaptured during the raid.

Weber explained that a decision was taken to enforce the deportation of the man to Italy, which he transited on his way to Germany. Under European Union ‘Dublin rules’ migrants have to apply for asylum in the first member state they enter.

The incident has created enormous political media uproar in Germany.

“We will not let any lawless areas, as were apparent here, develop,” Weber said.

“This is a slap in the face of law-abiding citizens,” conservative interior minister Horst Seehofer said during a media briefing organised in relation to the incident, “The right to hospitality must not be trampled on.”

“Such behavior has to be tackled with the full force of the law,” he added.

Alice Weidel, co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany party said, “The rule of law is being trampled on by its ‘guests’. This is just the beginning,”

Twenty-seven asylum seekers offered resistance during the raid, while some asylum seekers were injured jumping out of windows.

Four people, including one police officer, were taken to the hospital for injuries suffered during the raid, while eight others were treated by paramedics at the scene.

Police said they had arrested five asylum seekers on suspicion of theft or drug-related offenses, while 17 residents of the hostel, home to around 500 mostly African asylum seekers, are to be moved to other homes.

Asylum seekers are not allowed to look for work or even take German classes or do any job training while they wait for their applications to be processed, which leaves some of them looking for illegal means to earn money.

TMP – 25/05/2018