Arab refugees and Germans carrying pro-immigrant and anti-fascism placards marched in Cottbus on Saturday to denounce what they say are attempts by far-right groups to stoke tension in the eastern city after two knife attacks by Syrian teenagers.
“We want to stop this hate between Germans and Arab refugees,” said Ahmad al-Barqouni, a 28-year-old Syrian student, marching through the city with around 1,500 other people.
|Arab refugees march against hate in German city hit by rising tensions
“Some people made mistakes but not everyone should pay the price for it,” he added, referring to the knife attacks.
Police beefed up security in the city of 100,000 near the Polish border, where the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party did well in an election last year. Residents and far-right groups will hold a counter demonstration later on Saturday against what they see as rising crime by migrants.
Last month, two Syrian teenagers injured a 16-year-old German boy with a knife and a group of three Syrians aged under 17 threatened a German couple with a knife outside a mall in Cottbus.
The attacks prompted almost weekly demonstrations by residents opposed to more people seeking asylum coming to their city. The interior ministry in Brandenburg, the federal state in which Cottbus lies, stopped sending refugees to the city last month.
“We are here to make a clear stance against a rightist hate campaign,” said Lea Bunke, a 25-year-old German student, adding that the knife attacks by Syrian teenagers did not justify demands by some residents that all refugees leave the city.Reuters