Germany is blowing up again over migration. The Saxon town of Bautzen has, like dozens of similar places across Germany, a barracks for some of the million or two Middle Eastern migrants who have been streaming across the Mediterranean for the past year-and-a-half. People in Bautzen aren’t used to foreigners, and now groups of young men have taken to congregating in city’s central square, the Kornmarkt. The migrants say they come there for the free internet. This upsets the locals, 80 of whom waged a pitched battle against 20 teenage migrants on Wednesday evening. Alcohol was involved on both sides. To judge from the video at FAZ.com, accounts differ on who is to blame. The Germans say that the young migrants (whom they refer to as UMAs, the German acronym for unaccompanied minors seeking asylum) are harassing women and smashing things. The UMAs, in turn, say the locals (whom they refer to as “Nazis”) accost them every day with shouts of “Foreigners out!”
The confrontations take place against the background of a more general society-wide anger in Germany. Last Saturday, Bautzen’s right-wingers and left-wingers confronted each other on the streets, rather as they did a century ago in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and Germany’s defeat in World War I. On Thursday night, following the fights, 350 people, most of them natives, were on the streets again. A cordon of police was required to separate the pro-immigrant and anti-immigrant sides—again, much as they once tried to separate the Communists and anti-Communists. More protests are planned for this weekend.
The anger overflows in all directions. Here is a picture of a kid kicking a TV cameraman. At a European Union summit in Bratislava, German chancellor Angela Merkel, who issued the invitation to the Middle Eastern migrants in the summer of 2015, said the EU was now in a “critical situation.” Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg politician who serves as the EU president, blamed forty years of British “lies” for the union’s problems. Someone tweeted that the summit looked like a funeral from the old Soviet politburo.