Indian fairgoers attacked in Saxony

20th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

20 August 2007, Muegeln, Germany (dpa) - A mob attacked a group of Indian fairgoers in a village in the eastern German state of Saxony, German police said late Sunday.

20 August 2007

Muegeln, Germany (dpa) - A mob attacked a group of Indian fairgoers in a village in the eastern German state of Saxony, German police said late Sunday.

Eight Indians and four Germans were reported injured. The incident occurred at a village festival overnight Saturday in Muegeln.

After a scuffle broke out shortly after midnight in a festival tent, a group of about 50 mostly young Germans apparently pursued a group of Indian visitors, who fled into a pizzeria. The doors of the restaurant were kicked in by the pursuing mob.

A reported 70 police officers were needed to disperse the attackers, and two officers were injured. A large crowd reportedly witnessed the violence.

Among the injured, one Indian and one German were hospitalized.

There was no immediate report of arrests. Authorities have formed a task force to investigate the incident.

Saxony state Police Chief Bernd Merbitz told dpa that a "xenophobic motive" could have been a factor in the violence.

"We're investigating in every direction," he said.

The Leipziger Volkszeitung, a daily newspaper in nearby Leipzig, reported in its Monday edition that the mob attacking the Indians shouted anti-foreigner slogans.

West Saxony police spokesman Reinhard Boettcher told dpa that witness statements suggested that there might have been right-wing extremist shouts and insults during the melee. It was unclear whether the large crowd of bystanders cheered on the mob or merely failed to intervene.

"The fact is: alcohol at the time played a role," Boettcher said.

The incident was not revealed by police until nearly a day later. Muegeln, population 4,700 lies about 45 kilometres east of Leipzig and 50 kilometres west of Dresden, Saxony's two largest cities. Saxony is one of the states formerly part of communist East Germany, which have seen disproportionate rates of violence against foreigners since German reunification in 1990.

DPA

Subject: German news

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