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Merkel to visit protest-hit refugee home

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Merkel to visit protest-hit refugee home
Far-right violence in Heidenau over the weekend left 30 police officers injured. Photo: DPA
11:20 CEST+02:00
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Wednesday visit a refugee centre which was hit by violent far-right protests, her office said in a statement.

"The Chancellor will hold a dialogue with refugees, volunteers and security staff in Heidenau," her office added.

Violence was sparked on Friday when hundreds of supporters of the far-right National Democratic Party (NDP) gathered in front of a former DIY superstore in Heidenau in Saxony which has been rebuilt to house 320 refugees by Sunday.

The protests turned violent when demonstrators threw stones, bottles and firecrackers at police who responded by firing tear gas.

The situation had mostly calmed by Saturday morning, by which time more than 30 officers as well as numerous protesters were reportedly injured. But sporadic fighting between left- and right-wing demonstrators continued into the early hours of Monday.

Merkel had been criticised for her slow response to the violence with twitter hashtags such as #merkelsagwas (Merkel say something) and #merkelschweight (Merkel is silent) trending over the weekend.

On Monday afternoon the Chancellor commented on the events for the first time, condemning the protests as "vile".

SEE ALSO: Gabriel visits Saxony after weekend of violence

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