The eastern German city of Chemnitz is under major chaos. Several clashing protests broke out after a 35-year-old German man, Daniel H., was allegedly killed by Iraqi and Syrian immigrants, Yousif A. and Alaa S., whose last names were not disclosed. The fatal stabbing occurred on Sunday, Aug. 26, when an argument broke out in the street. Violent protests against immigration in Germany quickly followed after the incident.
Chemnitz has a history of Neo-Nazi protests, but usually with only a few hundred protesters. Now, a crowd of 8,000, along with thousands of ordinary citizens took to the streets. There were high tensions among citizens when thousands of protesters began chanting “Chemnitz is ours- foreigners out!” while giving Nazi salutes, which is a serious criminal offense in Germany.
Throughout the city, various altercations between counter-protesters who support immigration and far-right protesters occurred, leaving at least a dozen critically injured. There is a video showing right-wing protesters chasing a man thought to be a foreigner through the streets. With German police severely outnumbered, authorities are too scared to intervene.
With the Iraqi and Syrian citizens being put on trial, a spotlight is on German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has welcomed migrant policies and revealed disagreements between her and top security officials. “Migration presents us with challenges and here we have problems, but also successes,” said the Chancellor.
Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer, indicated sympathy for the provoked rioters by saying, “If I were not a minister, I would have gone to the streets as a citizen.” He then added, “Naturally, not together with the radicals.”
Mistakes have been made when it comes to handling the cases of the two suspects. Due to poor communication between Germany’s migrant office and other officials, the deadline to return Iraqi immigrant Yousif S. to Bulgaria, the country responsible for his case, has passed. Seehofer has also said that there were cooperation issues between authorities in the case of Syrian, Alaa S.“Such delays and mistakes need to be prevented,” he said in a conference.
Mourning locals continue to pay their respects at makeshift memorials, but refuse to speak to the media, angered at how their town has been represented. “It is really terrible and sad what happened in Chemnitz … in our city. I am not against foreigners or migrants,” one man said. “But I feel that I can’t leave my girlfriend and children alone to go out by themselves. I feel it’s no longer safe in our own home town,” reported CNN.
There are also many enraged civilians expressing their lack of trust for the media. They argue that they have been severely misrepresented and that the media shouldn’t just show the violence happening within the city. Ala, a Syrian immigrant, has spoken out about his fear, saying “I’m afraid because there were so many right-wing Germans in the street… I ask the German government to pass stricter laws, so this type of violence no longer happens,” reported CNN. Ala is one of many immigrants who fear for their safety within the country. As tensions continue to rise throughout Germany, government authorities do everything they can to regain peace. Officials like Merkel and Seehofer are still working to mend the flaws within migrant offices.