Arson attack in Bautzen: incendiary devices through the window

Arson attack in Bautzen: incendiary devices through the window

Another planned accommodation for refugees burned down, this time in Saxony. A few days earlier, the AfD had demonstrated against the opening.

Arson attack on planned asylum accommodation in Bautzen.  Traces of fire and smashed windows can be seen on the facade

The arson attack on the planned asylum accommodation in Bautzen happened early Friday morning Photo: Paul Glaser/dpa

BAUTZEN/DRESDEN dpa | According to official information, unknown persons carried out an arson attack on a planned refugee accommodation in Saxony. The state government condemned the attack on a former hotel in Bautzen in the strongest possible terms. Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer spoke of a disgusting act. The CDU politician announced that their clarification had “top priority”.

According to investigators’ initial findings, a fire broke out in the hotel early on Friday morning after perpetrators smashed windows. The first refugees should move into the house next week. Four employees of the hotel owner who stayed in the building were not injured.

According to the State Criminal Police Office (LKA), serious arson is being investigated. The police counter-terrorism and extremism center (PTAZ) took over the investigation. An LKA spokesman said: “A political background cannot be ruled out.” Last week was also in Gross Strömkendorf in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania burned down a shelter for refugees from the Ukraine. The investigators suspect a political background.

Saxony’s Interior Minister Armin Schuster condemned the act in Bautzen. “Burning houses out of hatred because you don’t want refugees near you is deeply primitive and inhuman,” said the CDU politician, according to the statement. It is not yet known who threw the incendiary devices into the still unoccupied hotel. “But we have to assume a xenophobic arson attack.” He wanted to drive to the accommodation on Saturday afternoon.

“Horrified and Angry”

“Attacks on refugee accommodation are completely unacceptable,” wrote the person responsible for social cohesion in Saxony Minister of Social Affairs Petra Köpping (SPD) on Twitter. Udo Witschas (CDU), district administrator of the district of Bautzen, was “absolutely shocked and angry”. Human lives were carelessly endangered.

The first 30 refugees should move into the accommodation next Thursday. According to the district office, the families come from Syria, North Macedonia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Georgia and the Russian Federation. It is currently not clear whether the original plans will be adhered to.

According to the district office, there was a town meeting with residents and the district in the “Spreehotel” last Tuesday. “Of course, there were concerns and criticism from local residents. But this is usually the case for such appointments. ”In the course of the meeting, there was also a demo organized by the AfD in the immediate vicinity, the office said. One is “against the opening of the asylum home and against the uncontrolled wave of migration,” writes the AfD district association in Bautzen on Facebook.

The district chairman of the left in Bautzen sees the AfD as responsible. “Anyone who spreads hate is an accomplice!” wrote Silvio Lang on Twitter. The AfD district association announced on Friday: “We have exercised our democratic right to freedom of expression and criticism of the previous asylum policy and reject any form of violence.”

Not the first attack

According to a spokeswoman for the district office, the former hotel, located outside of the city on a reservoir, is being made available by a private owner and operated by the Arbeiterwohlfahrt (Awo).

Asylum seekers were also housed there from 2015 to 2017, with a maximum of around 200. There had already been an attempted arson attack on the building in 2016. At the time, three young men threw Molotov cocktails over a fence in the direction of the house.

According to LKA information, the building has now been cordoned off over a large area, fire investigators and a tracking dog were deployed. Police called on potential witnesses to come forward.

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