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Several injured after huge police operation at ‘rebel’ asylum home

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Several injured after huge police operation at ‘rebel’ asylum home
On site at the refugee home in Ellwangen on Thursday. Photo: DPA
10:28 CEST+02:00
On Monday, a large group of migrants at a refugee centre aggressively prevented police from detaining a man who was to be deported. Authorities have now responded by sending hundreds of officers to the refugee home in Ellwangen.

During the operation at the refugee home in the Baden-Württemberg town of Ellwangen on Thursday morning, several men were taken into custody. At least one man has been taken to another location via prisoner transport.

Police have since confirmed that the arrested man was the 23-year-old Togolese man who was supposed to be deported on Monday.

Several people were injured during the police deployment. Some refugees jumped out of the windows of the building, suffering minor injuries.

Three police officers were also lightly injured, but were able to continue working. Members of the emergency services had "a lot to do," a police spokesman told local reporters.

Police are also investigating evidence that the migrants at the centre had a concerted plan to prevent all deportations through collective action.

"Since there were serious statements from the migrants that if the police reappeared, they would not only defend themselves in a similar manner, they would also prepare by arming themselves," officials during the operation sought to find "weapons and dangerous objects," the police said on Thursday.

Whether weapons have been found in the refugee home has not been confirmed.

The 23-year-old African was to be deported from the refugee home on Monday. But 150 to 200 migrants at the centre managed to forcefully prevent this.

The three police patrol cars who had turned up to detain the man saw themselves in a critical situation and decided to withdraw from the scene.

The group of migrants mainly from Africa had surrounded the patrol cars and pestered the police. Some of the men hit the police patrol cars and the vehicles were damaged as a result, the Stuttgarter Zeitung (SZ) reported.

The migrants then sent a security officer from the refugee home to act as an intermediary and gave the police an ultimatum: take the Togolese man's handcuffs off within two minutes, otherwise they would storm the entrance gate of the accommodation.

The police decided to give the security officer a key so that he could release the 23-year-old from his handcuffs.

In response to the incident, Armin Schuster of the Christian Democrats (CDU) has called for the authorities to take a tougher stance. 

"In our constitutional state there are clear red lines that asylum seekers now deliberately cross almost every day," Schuster said.

The CDU politician said he expects to see "political support at all levels for more tangible toughness regarding the actions of our law enforcement agencies".

Meanwhile the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party's parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel has tweeted: "The rule of law is being trampled on by our 'guests'. Asylum seekers who try to prevent deportations must be expelled!"

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