Saxony is generally considered to have some of the lowest migrant numbers in Germany, and for years, commentators and newspapers made a point of lambasting the region’s anti-immigrant sentiment when there were few living there. Now, the mayor of Plauen is desperate as crime and violence soar in his city due to migrants dominating the city center, harassing pedestrians and committing serious crimes, including a case of attempted manslaughter.
Mayor Steffen Zenner (CDU) says there are “repeated ugly scenes of violence and physical altercations in the middle of our city center.”
He told the Bild newspaper that “the violence is mainly caused by migrants,” but emphasizes “that the majority of migrants living in Plauen abide by law and order.”
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The first incident the mayor notes was on April 29 involving a large-scale brawl at Postplatz, which shocked those in the downtown area. Police say that Iraqi, Romanian and Syrian youths were involved, with an investigation opened into dangerous bodily harm.
Another scene of violence occurred the following week, involving a physical altercation between North Africans, Kurds and Arabs, this time in a dance hall in Plauen. The following day, the feuding parties went to settle the conflict at Postplatz, which saw a Syrian stab an Iraqi. The knife attack was nearly deadly, with emergency services barely able to save the man’s life.
In the city of 65,000, locals are increasingly avoiding the city center, according to Bild. Businesses are complaining that their sales are falling due to the violence, and employees are using back exits to avoid the crowds of migrants occupying the center. Bild now describes the area as a “no-go zone” for many living and working there.
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Mayor Zenner is now calling for “upper limits on immigration, as well as European and national border security measures that are transnational and concerted.” The mayor says that 40 percent of the non-Ukrainian migrants in the city have deportation orders, but they are not being removed. Germany is well known for its lower deportation rate, even for convicted migrants. As Remix News reported in 2021, migrants with deportation orders committed 2,500 crimes in Saxony in 2020.
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) parliamentary group in Saxony says the CDU, to which Zenner belongs, is part of the problem. Saxon Interior Minister Armin Schuster (CDU) has repeatedly failed to deal with the crisis, according to the AfD.
Other German cities are facing similar problems involving public disorder and crime from Germany’s growing immigrant population, including the “green” university city of Freiburg, which has seen riots and scenes of violence over the last year.