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'Tröglitz is everywhere'

April 7, 2015

The state premier of Saxony-Anhalt in Germany, Reiner Haseloff, has warned against dismissing the attack on a refugee home in Tröglitz as a one-off case. Politicians are calling for a ban of the right-wing NPD party.

Reiner Haseloff (CDU)
Image: picture alliance/dpa/Hendrik Schmidt

In Tuesday's edition of the German newspaper "Die Welt," Haseloff (pictured above) said that the issue of racism and xenophobia had become a nationwide problem, with protests against asylum seekers and attacks on planned accommodation having also occurred in other German cities.

"The number of attacks is growing across the country. Tröglitz is everywhere," Haseloff said.

"We have to deal with this unspeakable development at a national level," the CDU politician demanded.

Despite Saturday's suspected arson attack, Haseloff insisted that refugees will be taken in by Tröglitz as planned.

"We will not go back, not one step," Haseloff said.

Europe-wide outrage

The building at the center of the controversy caught fire in the early hours of Saturday morning, around 2 a.m. local time (0000 UTC), with the attic suffering the most extensive damage. According to local police, a married couple was staying in the home at the time of the incident and was narrowly able to escape the flames uninjured. The house was due to accommodate 40 asylum seekers who are scheduled to arrive in May.

Brand in zukünftiger Asylbewerberunterkunft in Tröglitz
TröglitzImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Schmidt

The attack has been met with outrage across Germany, with many now calling for a ban of the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), which was purportedly behind recent protests in Tröglitz.

"All democrats must unanimously nail their colors to the mast so that the brown seed does not sprout," deputy SPD chairman Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel told Germany's "Mitteldeutsche Zeitung," referring to the color infamously worn by the Nazis.

Calls to ban right-wing NPD

In order to ban a political party in Germany, however, the country's leading justices must be provided with explicit proof that the party not only condones but takes an active part in unconstitutional actions such as the propagation of racism and xenophobia.

"The party has to be banned, as quickly as possible," said Charlotte Knobloch, former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in Munich on Easter Sunday.

Ongoing threats

Last month the former mayor of Tröglitz, Markus Nierth, stepped down due to threats against himself and his wife from members of the NPD during marches outside his house.

Since the attack on Saturday, Nierth and his family have reportedly received threatening emails. District coordinator of refugee accommodation Götz Ulrich (CDU) and his family have also been placed under police protection.

Ulrich was due on Tuesday afternoon to meet with Saxony-Anhalt's interior minister Holger Stahlknecht (CDU) in Magdeburg to find an accommodation solution in time for the impending arrival of refugees in Tröglitz next month.

Prosecutors in Saxony-Anhalt will continue their investigation in the days ahead.

ksb/jil (dpa, AFP)

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