In eastern Germany, the head of the Thuringia state government has reportedly received death threats. The politician contends the incidents stem from local opposition to a housing plan for asylum seekers.
"The language relating to the refugee debate is clear," Thuringia Premier Bodo Ramelow told the newspaper Thüringische Landeszeitung (TLZ), without elaborating about when the e-mail and Facebook message were discovered.
A third message - a letter containing white powder - was sent directly to his office. Forensic analysts later confirmed that the powder was, in fact, flour.
Like the country's other states, Thuringia expects an influx of refugees this year. The capital city of Erfurt and the city of Rudolstadt already have plans in the works for asylum centers. Ramelow and his cabinet are currently looking into a third center to be housed at a former military base in Mühlhausen.
According to TLZ, the possibility of a refugee housing in Mühlhausen has upset local residents. Over 150 people demonstrated against the project over the weekend.
However, the state premier emphasized on Monday that his government would make a recommendation on the project this week, but could not make a final decision without further analyzing the case.
The plan has also upset Mühlhausen Mayor Johannes Bruns, who contends that Premier Ramelow reneged on a promise made in January that the plot of land which once belonged to the military would be developed for local businesses.
Record numbers of asylum applicants in Germany have sparked public debate across the entire country over the feasibility of housing and integrating various ethnic groups, many of whom originate from northern Africa and the Middle East. The large influx of foreigners has also given rise to xenophobic and anti-Muslim sentiment.
kms/jil (KNA, dpa)