abc.net.au: Merkel worried anti-foreigner attacks could split Germany again

A new dramatic rise in right-wing violence, largely in the eastern part of the nation triggered by a surge in the number of refugees entering the country, threatens to mar events planned to mark the 25th anniversary of unification in October.

Chancellor Angela Merkel indicated on Monday her concern that extreme right-wing attacks could open up a new split in Germany.

“I don’t intend to make an east-west conflict,” she said, refusing to be drawn at her annual press conference as to whether anti-foreigner sentiments were pronounced in the east.

Referring to the recent attacks, Ms Merkel said the “full force of the law” would be felt by those who insulted, attacked or used arson to target newcomers to the country.

The overwhelming majority of Germans have welcomed the refugees, which are expected to top 800,000 this year – almost 1 per cent of the total population.

However, the series of anti-foreigner rallies, arson attacks on asylum shelters and random street violence in the nation’s former communist half have also underlined the threat that xenophobia could emerge as a new dividing line between the eastern and western parts of the nation.

Source: Merkel worried anti-foreigner attacks could split Germany again

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