Mob Rule in Eastern Germany: Indians Attacked by Crowd at Street Party

A group of eight Indians was attacked by a mob at a street party in eastern Germany on the weekend. All were injured, one seriously. The police deny there was a political motive behind the attack despite calls of "foreigners out."

Singh Gorvinda was one of the Indians injured in the attack.
DPA

Singh Gorvinda was one of the Indians injured in the attack.

Despite a mob's calls of "foreigners out," police are denying there was a far-right motive behind an attack on a group of Indians in eastern Germany this weekend.

The eight men were attacked by a mob of around 50 Germans at a street party in the early hours of Sunday in the small town of Mügeln in the eastern German state of Saxony. The trigger for the violence was a brawl on the dance floor in a party tent shortly before 1 a.m., police said. The reason for the brawl was not yet clear.

The Indians left the tent where the dance was being held but were then attacked by the mob, which chased them across the town's market place until they took shelter in a pizzeria run by an Indian. The owner let them in, but the mob tried to kick in the doors of the restaurants as a large crowd looked on. The restaurant owner's car was also seriously damaged.

Seventy police officers were called in to restore order. Fourteen people were injured in the incident, including the eight Indians, four of the attackers and two police officers. One of the Indians and one of the attackers were taken to hospital for treatment. Two of the attackers, aged 21 and 23, were arrested on Saturday night but later released. The police have set up a task force to investigate the incident.

In remarks to the German news agency DDP Monday, a police spokeswoman in Leipzig denied there was a neo-Nazi motive behind the attack, despite eye-witnesses accounts of people calling for "foreigners out."

There were reports Monday that the police had been warned in advance of the attack but had done nothing to prevent it. Mayor Gotthard Deuse told the German news station N24 that there had been warnings of possible problems at the street party. However, the police spokeswoman denied this, saying that the warning in question had been sent to a youth club in the town, warning of a robbery. This had "absolutely nothing to do" with the attacks, the spokeswoman said. The mayor said there were no neo-Nazis in the town and that, if the incident did have a far-right motive, it was most likely caused by people from outside the city.

Some of the men were merchants living in the area, police said. "They just wanted to take part in the celebrations," a police spokesman told the Associated Press.

Attacks on foreigners are far from unusual in eastern German states such as Saxony, where there are concerns that far-right groups are gaining in strength and taking on institutional roles in some places. The far-right, neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD) holds several seats in Saxony's state assembly, having won over 9 percent of the vote in the 2004 state election.

dgs/ddp/ap/dpa

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