Over the past two months, Europeans have become completely fed up with the wave of refugees streaming into the bloc from the Mid-East.
After demonstrating a remarkable degree of restraint and tolerance in the wake of the attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris in November, the string of sexual assaults that swept Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve was the last straw for a German populace that had, until this year anyway, largely remained supportive of Angela Merkel’s “yes we can” approach to settling the 1.1 million asylum seekers that the country took in last year.
That’s not to say that there aren’t still large swaths of the German population that support the migrant cause. It’s simply to note that the general consensus is no longer teddy bears, water bottles, and hugs. Discontent with the Iron Chancellor’s approach is growing and the tension is palpable. Renewed support for PEGIDA is emblematic of the direction in which the country is headed and this weekend we got the latest evidence that Germany’s patience with migrants is wearing increasingly thin.
Residents of Bautzen (in Saxony) cheered on Saturday night as a planned migrant center burned in what very well may have been an arson. “Some people reacted to the blaze with derogatory comments and undisguised joy,” Deutsche Welle notes, before adding that “the incident in Bautzen comes shortly after a mob shouting anti-migrant slogans blocked a bus full of refugees in Clausnitz, also in Saxony.” Here's the video of the Clausnitz incident:
Reports indicate that a number of witnesses in Bautzen attempted to prevent firefighters from extinguishing the blaze.
Saxony's chief minister, Stanislaw Tillich, called both incidents "disgusting and hateful."
Yes, "disgusting and hateful," which is precisely what the German people are saying about the string of sexual assaults and the threat of Islamic terrorism.
Needless to say, when German citizens are actively attempting to keep firefighters from curtailing a blaze, it says something profound about public opinion. Then again, we suppose this isn't anything new. As Deutsche Welle goes on to report, "there were more than 1,000 arson attacks on planned and completed refugee shelters across Germany in 2015."
Perhaps support for Merkel's open-door approach was never that strong in the first place.