There were tumultuous scenes in front of the district council of Nordwestmecklenburg in Grevesmühlen on Thursday as, according to police estimates, 700 people gathered in front of the administration building to protest against the construction of a container village for 400 asylum seekers in Upahl. The town itself currently has just 1,662 inhabitants.
Despite the loud, angry protests, which could also be heard in the meeting hall, the district council voted in an emergency meeting to erect the accommodation. The situation came to a head when some protesters tried to enter the administration building. Police officers dressed in heavy protective gear managed to prevent the building from being stormed.
Demonstrators beat with their hands against the windows. According to NDR, right-wing extremists were also among the protesters. However, the police pointed out to the Nordkurier newspaper that it was “mainly middle-class people, and only a small part of them were from the right-wing scene.”
Politicians invite citizens to dialogue after the fact
A motion by AfD, which has eight district council members, to forego the construction of the shelter was rejected by the majority. The request to at least limit the capacity to 250 was also rejected. With 14 members, CDU is the strongest group in the district council. They are followed by SPD (13) and the Left Party (11).
The container village is now ready to open on March 1 in an industrial park, announced District Administrator Tino Schomann (CDU) after the meeting. This step was “necessary” because they wanted to prevent the sports halls from being occupied by migrants. The administration would “do everything” to “keep the burden on residents as low as possible,” pledged Schomann, who announced a dialogue event with citizens on Feb. 3.
The police have already initiated several preliminary proceedings against demonstrators.
There have been numerous uprisings across Europe by local residents enraged by decisions to import large numbers of asylum seekers into their communities, with some locals faring better than others in opposing the plans.
Late last year, residents of an English village were victorious in their protests against a local university that had been planning on selling former student accommodations to the Home Office to house migrants. Residents of a small French village also won their battle against the local government’s attempt to import asylum seekers into their community.
And a local council in the Netherlands rejected a decision by the government to house asylum seekers in an assisted-living facility for the elderly and disabled.