About 500 protesters, among them neo-Nazis and angry local residents, protested in the German capital on Saturday against the construction of a centre for refugees seeking political asylum.
A large number of police kept watch over the protest march and over a large anti-fascist counter demonstration in the eastern Berlin working class district of Marzahn.
The anti-foreigner protesters waved banners that read “We’re fed up!”, “Not here”, and “Refugees from around the world, but no money for them”. Placards also said “We are the people” and “Wake up! Don’t complain, take action”.
Demonstrators denounced the lack of consultation of local residents about the refugee centre and demanded “protection for us and our children”, while some chanted “We are not Nazis but people”.
Germany, which has become Europe’s top destination for asylum seekers, expects 200,000 arrivals this year, almost 60 percent more than last year, which already saw a jump of two-thirds over 2013.
Those seeking political asylum come mainly from war-torn Syria, but also Iraq and Afghanistan.
Across Germany, former army barracks and school buildings have been requisitioned and mobile housing and even tents set up to house the refugees.
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