Tags: berlin | refugee | shelter | brawl

Berlin Refugee Shelter Brawl Shows Challenge Facing Europe

Image: Berlin Refugee Shelter Brawl Shows Challenge Facing Europe
Volunteers give away water bottles and snacks to migrants queuing at a compound in Berlin as they wait to register. (REUTERS/Fabrizio Benschx)

By    |   Monday, 30 Nov 2015 08:53 AM

A mass brawl by hundreds of refugees at a Berlin shelter on Sunday required 100 police officers to restore order and underlined the challenges facing Germany and the rest of Europe in handling hundreds of thousands of migrants.

Although violent incidents in such centers are frequent, the chaos in the shelter at Berlin's disused Tempelhof airport, which erupted as lunch was being served, was worse than normal, reported Reuters.

"There were apparently many hundreds of people involved," a spokesman for the police told Reuters TV. Police made an unspecified number of arrests.

Michael Elias, who is in charge of the shelter, said that 830 people were housed at the facility and that between 20 and 30 started the disruption.

"It's the simple fact that there are a lot of young men travelling alone here. We withdrew ... because the situation simply exploded. It was a complete blow-out."

Earlier on Sunday morning, police were called to another shelter in Berlin, where similar violence forced 500 inhabitants to flee the building.

Such scenes feed scepticism among the German public about accepting refugees. Chancellor Angela Merkel's popularity has slumped, a sign of the public's cooling attitude towards the influx of people fleeing conflict in countries like Syria.

Earlier this year, Germany's police union and women's rights groups accused the authorities of playing down reports of sexual assault and even rape at refugee shelters because they feared a backlash against asylum seekers.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has called on Germans to avoid succumbing to blanket suspicion of migrants, of whom up to a million are expected to arrive this year.

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A mass brawl by hundreds of refugees at a Berlin shelter on Sunday required 100 police officers to restore order and underlined the challenges facing Germany and the rest of Europe in handling hundreds of thousands of migrants.
berlin, refugee, shelter, brawl
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2015-53-30
Monday, 30 Nov 2015 08:53 AM
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