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Germans Cheer, Block Firefighters As Refugee Shelter Is Set Ablaze

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

Politicians are worried after two incidents in the German state of Saxony, where people are increasingly voicing their opposition against refugees.

A planned refugee shelter in the state was set ablaze Saturday. Police say between 20 and 30 people cheered on Saturday as a planned refugee shelter caught ablaze. They even tried to block firefighters from subduing the flames.

“The authorities should have done it differently,” local engineer Christian Haase said of the refugee influx, in an interview with Deutsche Welle. “There’s no discussion with the people. And of course that’s a problem – because people feel like their opinions don’t count.”

Attacks on refugee centers have become a daily occurrence in Germany. A total of 924 acts of violence against the shelters were recorded in 2015, compared to 199 in 2014. A swift in mentality can be seen in the way people now openly support these acts.

A bus of refugees got an unpleasant welcome to the county of Rechenberg-Bienenmühle, where about 100 people tried to block their arrival to a refugee shelter Thursday. Locals shouted “We are the people!” and “Go home!” while the refugees were seen crying on the bus.

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Michael Funke, the mayor of Rechenberg-Bienenmühle, said the protests are directed at politicians, rather than the refugees.

“This was about politics, not the people themselves,” Funke said.

Saxony is the state where Pegida, an anti-immigration movement that’s been drawing tens of thousands of people to their protests, started in 2014. Politicians now call for Chancellor Angela Merkel and the German parliament to take a stand against the trend. (RELATED: Germany’s Largest State Bans Immigration From Morocco After Cologne Attacks)

“The German Bundestag must make unmistakably clear that we cannot tolerate anything like this,” Britta Hasselmann, the Green Party’s parliamentary leader, said Monday. “Hate, discrimination or violence against people cannot be allowed.”

The local government in Saxony has launched an investigation into the incidents.

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