Anti-Migrant Rallies Held in Netherlands and Germany

Anti-Migrant Rallies Held in Netherlands and Germany
Tue Jan 19, 2016 16:23:26

Anti-refugee protesters have held rallies in the Netherlands and Germany as Europe continues to grapple with an unprecedented influx of refugees mainly from war-torn Middle Eastern states.

On Monday, anti-immigration protesters took to the streets in the Dutch town of Heesh in protest at the planned opening of a refugee center in the town.

The gathering turned ugly as police tried to disperse the demonstrators who were throwing fireworks.

Police made several arrests. There were also a number of injuries.

The rally came after officials held a meeting on Monday to discuss plans of accommodating some 500 refugees over the next 10 years.

Demonstrators say the figure is a disproportionally high number for a town of some 12,500 people.

On Monday, far-right Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders demanded that all Muslim male refugees be incarcerated in their asylum centers in Europe, claiming that such a move was necessary to protect women on the streets.

Wilders made the remarks in a video for his Freedom Party (PVV) following the recent sexual assaults against women in the German city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

Counter-Rallies in Germany

Also on Monday evening, supporters and opponents of the German anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant PEGIDA movement held rallies in Munich to protest Chancellor Angela Merkel’s refugee policies and what they call the Islamification of the European country.

Several minor scuffles broke out as pro-refugees known as antifa attempted to block the far-right PEGIDA group’s regular Monday march. However, police intervened to keep a distance between the two groups.

A similar protest rally was held in the western city of Duisburg on Monday.

Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees who are fleeing conflict-hit zones in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.

Many blame major European powers for the exodus, saying their policies have led to a surge in terrorism and wars, forcing people out of their homes.

According to figures released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), more than one million refugees reached Europe’s shores in 2015. More than 3,300 people either died or went missing in their hazardous journey to the continent.

Swedish Mosque Hit by ‘Arson Attack’

A day earlier, a mosque in the southwest of Sweden caught fire, with police launching an investigation into a possible arson attack.

The fire broke out at the site in the town of Boras at around 3:00 a.m. (0200 GMT).

“At this time it is unclear how the fire started. A preliminary investigation for arson has been launched and the premises have been cordoned off to allow the technical staff to work,” police said in a statement.

Arsonists have targeted several mosques and centers housing asylum seekers in recent months, in a string of attacks linked to the growing influx of asylum seekers into Europe.

Sweden received almost 163,000 refugee applications in 2015. Only in fall last year, applications were running at 10,000 weekly. Stockholm, however, said it will reduce the flow to around 1,000 a week in 2016.

Along with Germany, it is one of the main destinations for the refugees fleeing war and violence in the Middle East and North Africa, Press TV reported.


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