German court overturns assembly ban on town hit by anti-refugee clashes

August 29, 2015 21:15
1 minute read.


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Germany's highest court on Saturday overturned a weekend ban on assemblies in an eastern town that was the scene a week ago of violent protests against refugees that galvanized the government to fight xenophobia.

A regional court had imposed the ban on assemblies in Heidenau, near Dresden, from midday (1000 GMT) on Friday until Monday morning after more than 30 police were injured in clashes in the town last weekend.

On Saturday, the Federal Constitution Court lifted the ban.

"Gatherings in Heidenau can take place this weekend according to the provisions of the general right of assembly regulations," it said in a statement.

The violence occurred last week when a protest against a refugee shelter in Heidenau got out of hand and a mob of several hundred people, many of them drunk, began pelting officers with bottles and fireworks. Some of them shouted "Heil Hitler."

Chancellor Angela Merkel traveled to Heidenau on Monday and condemned the violent protests against refugees there, blaming neo-Nazis for spreading a "repulsive" message of hatred and local residents for supporting them.

Germany, which expects the number of asylum seekers to quadruple to about 800,000 this year, is struggling to cope. It has witnessed over a hundred arson attacks on asylum shelters.

Early on Saturday, a young man started a fire in a mosque in the town of Hagen in western Germany, police said. No one was hurt.

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