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Rostock halts asylum home plans over far-right fears

The city of Rostock said this week that plans to build a new asylum home for families have been cancelled after repeated protests against refugees and other conflicts in recent weeks.

The decision was based on risk assessment by the local police considering racist violence.

In July, a home for unaccompanied refugee children between the ages of seven and 17 had to be evacuated due to far-right protests, according to Spiegel.

The children were then housed in other accommodation around the city.

Some said the city gave into right-wing violence too easily.

“It is incomprehensible why the city capitulated so quickly,” Wolfgang Richter of the group GGP Rostock, which was working to support the cancelled refugee home, told Spiegel.

Green politician Torsten Sohn said that bullying and racist violence seemed to have won.

More than two decades ago in 1992, the city saw violent xenophobic riots break out as people threw stones and petrol bombs at the homes of asylum seekers, who at that time came mainly from Romania. The riots resulted in hundreds of arrests.

Since the influx of people coming mainly from war-torn Syria and Iraq to seek asylum from Germany, the country has seen a rise in extremist violence from the far-right, with attacks on asylum homes increasing by a factor of five between 2014 and 2015.

Rostock social senator Steffen Bockhahn told Die Zeit that although the decision to stop the construction of the home “hurt” him, he felt first and foremost responsible for the safety of young people.

“For me this was a matter of instructions,” Bockhahn said. “The interior ministry is responsible for safety.”