It appears that nationalists were on to something when they warned about "no go" zones in Germany, Sweden and other European countries that have taken in millions of migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and elsewhere since 2015.
While progressive Europeans scoffed, a report by RT illustrates how law enforcement is losing control of some neighborhoods. In a shocking incident that unfolded in the town of Ellwangen in Southern Germany, police officers were forced to release an asylum seeker who had been detained and was set to be ejected from the country.
The reason? An angry mob surrounded them and demanded that the Togolese national be released, in an "aggressive and threatening" manner.
After failing to disperse or contain the crowd, the overwhelmed officers were left with no choice but to let the detained man go free to avoid "a drastic escalation of the situation that could occur otherwise."
At one point the mob swelled from 50 to more than 150 migrants. Just as violence appeared inevitable, the migrants sent a peace emissary who delivered a chilling message to the overwhelmed police: They could leave safely if they removed the man's handcuffs and released him to the crowd within two minutes.
Otherwise, the migrants would storm the gates of the ward. Following the incident, the man who had been detained has not yet been found.
But perhaps the most shocking detail from the story was the response by the local police chief, who appeared to defend the migrants, saying they too appeared to be in an "extremely tense situation." Though he also praised the officers for their bravery "under such exceptional circumstances."
The deputy head of the Aalen police department, Bernhard Weber, praised the actions of the officers "under such exceptional" circumstances. "I can only show great respect for my colleagues," who were able to "keep a cool head" in such a situation, he said in a statement, apparently implying that, even though a massive breach of public order would justify the use of force by the police, it was not really necessary.
At the same time, he seemed to seek to downplay the incident. "We believe that those who confronted [the police], were also in an extremely tense situation," Weber said, adding that the migrants apparently "got carried away" by some sort of a corporate feeling and took the actions "they would have probably never taken following a thorough consideration."
The police chief admitted, though, that "it is clear that a state governed by the rule of law should not let itself be barred from enforcing this rule of law by an aggressive mob." The police emphasized that it has launched a probe into the incident over the unlawful release of a detainee and a breach of public order.
Unsurprisingly, the incident prompted an outcry from local politicians who told reporters that the migrants should be held legally accountable for their actions.
The incident, however, provoked concerns among local politicians. "Attacks on police officers are unacceptable," Uli Sckerl, a member of the regional parliament from the Green Party, told journalists. He also said that such behavior should be followed by legal consequences. "Frustration does not justify crimes," he added.
The faction leader of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party in the regional parliament, Bernd Goedel, condemned the incident by calling it the "state's failure." "If the authorities show that they can yield to pressure even once, then one will see the same situations in the future," he warned. The leader of the regional parliament's faction of the Free Democrats, Hans-Ulrich Ruelke, also described the incident as an "alarming situation."
The migrant crisis has grown so acute in Germany that last year Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to walk back her "open door" policy and announce that Germany would limit the number of refugees it accepts to 200,000 per year (though she also recently said the country would let in an additional 10,000 who had been selected by the UN).
Unfortunately, appalling incidents like the one described above aren't unique to Germany. Last year, Swedish police told a journalist investigating the rape of a 12-year-old girl that they hadn't started investigating the case because they "cannot cope" with the sheer volume of cases.