VIDEO: 'hate mob' chants at terrified refugees
A video showing a mob of people chanting slogans at a bus full of visibly shaken refugees has sparked outrage among German social media users.
The chant of "Wir sind das Volk" (we are the people) was once the famous war cry of protests against the East German regime which eventually brought down the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Its words were – at the time – a rebuke to a government which claimed to represent the nation but which was forced to prop up its power with barbed-wire fences and the most far-reaching spy network the world had yet seen.
Now it's been taken up by the anti-refugee movement in Germany, many of whose adherents accuse Chancellor Angela Merkel's government of being just as illegitimate as that of the former German Democratic Republic.
And it's at the centre of a video that surfaced on Friday morning showing people in Clausnitz, Saxony, chanting at a bus full of refugees arriving in the town.
Women and children can be seen through the windscreen of the vehicle, with a young boy appearing to weep as he looks out at the chanting faces of the townspeople from beneath a sign saying "enjoy your trip".
The video quickly spread online after being tweeted by TV comedian Jan Böhmermann, who wrote "Clausnitz (Saxony) yesterday. The German fear mob greets those who escaped the jaws of death."
Clausnitz (Sachsen), gestern.— Jan Böhmermann (@janboehm) February 19, 2016
Der deutsche Angstmob begrüßt die, die dem Tod von der Schippe gesprungen sind. pic.twitter.com/AieBfmmhx9
Police kept the two groups apart
Saxony police said on Facebook that there had been 30 officers on the scene in Clausnitz on Thursday night as the chanting mob and private vehicles blocked the bus's route.
"We were able to prevent it coming to physical confrontations or injuries," they wrote, as well as noting 13 possible infractions against the law on free assembly.
"The terrible images and video reached us this morning via social media," they added.
"As the police we have to remain neutral during our deployments. That is difficult for us in this situation. We are all people in blue uniforms, who feel just the same as you when we watch the video."
'Refugee homes already burning'
"We would have to be afraid that refugee homes would soon burn faced with the hate of the fear-citizens," Böhmermann later tweeted, "if they hadn't already been burning for a long time."
Bei dem Hass der Sorgenbürger müsste man glatt befürchten, dass bald Flüchtlingsheime brennen.— Jan Böhmermann (@janboehm) February 19, 2016
Wenn sie es nicht längst täten.#Clausnitz
Police statistics released in December showed that crimes against refugee homes had doubled in the space of a year to 1,600.
That included direct attacks against refugees and refugee homes, spreading hatred online, property damage, and attacks on volunteers, politicians and other people who support taking in refugees.
A broader category of crimes related to "foreigners/asylum" stood at 3,625 by mid-November - again, around double the previous year's figure.
Pro- and anti-refugee sides duke it out
Böhmermann received plenty of replies from people who backed the chanters.
"Just disgusting, these illegal scum in the bus!," one man replied.
@janboehm einfach nur ekelig, dieses illegale Pack im Bus !— gerd schulz (@ProSachsen) February 19, 2016
"You're right [about the homes burning], some of these refugees just don't know how to use a hot plate properly," an anonymous user calling themselves "The Patriot" wrote.
But the jokester received plenty of support as well.
"Concerned citizens don't set refugee homes on fire. Concerned citizens pay for aid for refugees and pay their TV license," one anonymous user tweeted.
@janboehm besorgte Bürger zünden keine Flüchtlingsheime an. Besorgte Bürger finanzieren die Flüchtlingshilfe und zahlen GEZ.— S. COOPERSMITH (@polit_surprise) February 19, 2016
"I have to attack refugees and insult them, because I'm unhappy with Angela Merkel! From 'How to argue like an arsehole'," another wrote.
"Ich muss ja Flüchtlinge angreifen und beschimpfen, weil ich unzufrieden mit Frau Merkel bin!"— Stubenrocker (@rock_galore) February 19, 2016
aus "Argumentieren wie ein Arschloch"