A WAVE of anti-refugee protests has forced authorities in a German city to cancel plans to build a refugee centre – with authorities instead deciding to move nearly all refugees out of the city.
By Oli Smith
16:01, Mon, Aug 8, 2016 | UPDATED: 16:18, Mon, Aug 8, 2016
Officials in the city of Rostock said "the safety of the refugees" and "security concerns" was behind the unexpected U-turn.
The decision against a refugee centre comes amid growing tension between local Germans and the growing migrant population following a series of terror attacks in Europe in recent weeks.
In Rostock, a series of protests and attacks against refugees in the city have prompted a drastic change of mind.
Security concerns halt Rostock refugee shelter plans
The city, located in the north east of the country, had planned to establish a refugee housing centre in the local district of Gross Klein to accommodate the increase in the arrival of migrants to Germany.
But, according to the police, a group of German youths had tried to storm the building recently, fuelling fears the new arrivals would be at risk.
Rostock's Social Affairs Minister Steffen Bockhahn said it "hurt" to make the decision but the growing anger towards refugees meant the situation was too dangerous.
On top of this, a nearby home for unaccompanied underage refugees had to be partially evacuated a week earlier amid safety concerns.
The public have largely applauded the council's decision
District council chairman Uwe Michaelis told local newspaper Ostee Zeitung: "I find it questionable if we allow ourselves to be dictated to by right-wingers where refugees are allowed to live and where not.
"They will consider this decision as a victory for them."
Ulrike Seemann-Katz, from the local state refugee advisory council, agreed that the decision sent a poor signal.
She told DW: "This is really a huge mistake.
"The signal means, 'All we need to do is make enough noise or throw enough stones or whatever, and then they'll give up.' And I don't think that's acceptable."
Cologne: Sex Attacks and Robberies
It was different before, police were here all the time. It's quiet again
The Interior Ministry said the decision had been made by the local council but added that it shared the security concerns of the local police.
A spokeswoman said: "For that reason the Interior Ministry recommended, on the basis of a police risk assessment commissioned by the social affairs authority in Rostock, to take the unaccompanied underage foreigners out of the facility in Gross Klein, because any conflicts could have endangered the children."
But, some local residents applauded the council's decision.
One man said: "It was different before, police were here all the time. It’s quiet now."
Another woman said the refugees in the area were a "provocative gang".
A nearby home for unaccompanied underage refugees also had to be partially evacuated a week earlier
Rostock has an ugly reputation for anti-refugee sentiment.
In 1992, an asylum seekers' home was set alight by an angry mob with over a hundred Vietnamese people and a TV camera crew inside.
The district where the refugee centre was planned suffers from a high unemployment rate, reaching 13 per cent.
Newly released figures on Wednesday show there have been 665 crimes targeting refugee homes in Germany this year alone.
In June, security expert Holger Munch said Germany is witnessing "an alarming level of far-right violence" against refugees.