Frayed Tempers

Refugee Violence Flares in Berlin

Police arrest refugees pic 2 Berlin Tempelhof Airport Source Paul Zinken dpa
Berlin police question arrested refugees who took part in the violence, which erupted at an emergency shelter at Berlin's former Tempelhof Airport.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany’s massive inflow of refugees poses a threat to the country’s finances and public safety.

  • Facts


    • Up to a million refugees are expected to apply for asylum in Germany this year.
    • The German chancellor has refused calls to set an upper limit on the amount of refugees coming to Germany.
    • Emergency shelters, from abandoned offices to factories to camp sites, have been erected across the country to offer shelter to the immigrants.
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The massive inflow of refugees into Germany spilled over into violence over the weekend in Berlin, as refugees fought among themselves at three facilities in the German capital in apparent disputes over food and services.

The largest brawl — involving more than 100 refugees according to police reports — took place Sunday afternoon at former Tempelhof Airport, the site of the famed Cold War Berlin air lift. Police said the brawl erupted after some refugees cut into a long line for food.

Two security people and one refugee were injured in the scuffle, Berlin police said. Immigrants used chair legs as sticks to beat each another. About 120 police officers were called in to put down the violence and 23 were arrested.

Tempelhof Airport, a former Nazi-era building south of Berlin’s city center, is home to over 1,000 refugees, mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, who are living in the temporary facility. Berlin turned the huge building, which is often used to put on trade fairs, into a shelter last month to house refugees in Europe’s largest economy.

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