Europe

Germany migrant bus surrounded by protesters

Afghan migrants sit in their room in the initial reception centre for asylum seekers in a former miners' hospital in Gera, central Germany (18 Feb. 2016) Image copyright AP
Image caption Germany has had to create hostels for migrants in all sorts of buildings, such as here in a former miners' hospital in Gera

Demonstrators chanting "we are the people" surrounded a bus carrying asylum seekers as it arrived at a shelter in a German village and tried to prevent them from getting off.

The state interior minister described the incident as "deeply shameful".

Video footage from the scene late on Thursday in Clausnitz in Saxony has been widely shared.

Clearly upset children can be seen on board the bus, which was prevented from reaching its destination for two hours.

A voice from the crowd can be heard shouting "go home" in English.

German talk show host Jan Boehmermann was one of those to share the video on Twitter.

Image copyright Twitter/@janboehm

"The German mob of fear greet those who have cheated death," he wrote.

Saxony police said a group of around 100 people prevented the bus from arriving at the asylum shelter, and three vehicles were used to block the entrance to it.

Those on board the bus were the first refugees to be accommodated at the shelter in the village, 30km (19 miles) south of Dresden.

Around 30 police officers attended the incident which started at 19:20 local time (18:20 GMT).

The protesters dispersed by about 22:00 and the asylum seekers were able to enter the shelter, it added.

The police have come in for criticism for their handling of events, particularly after a second video emerged on Friday evening showing what appeared to be police handling the same child - a boy in a blue jacket - roughly and dragging him into the accommodation as the crowd jeers and yells.

Saxony Interior Minister Markus Ulbig said in a statement (in German) that he had seen the footage and "the pictures spoke for themselves".

The ministry would be evaluating the police deployment, he said.

According to German media reports the video was first posted on Facebook by an anti-foreigner group. Neither the group nor the video exist on Facebook anymore, the reports said.

The slogan which the protesters chanted, "Wir sind das Volk" (We are the People), was used in the peaceful demonstrations against the dictatorship in East Germany which preceded the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The historic slogan has since been used - misused, according to German President and GDR-era civil rights activist Joachim Gauck - by the anti-Islam Pegida protesters in Germany.

Germany received over a million asylum claims in 2015.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.

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