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Neo-Nazis Tried to Crash a Welcome Party for Migrants and Refugees in Germany

Members of a far-right group shouted anti-immigrant slogans as volunteers gathered at a train station Dortmund to welcome migrants and refugees with help and supplies.

by Gillian Mohney
Sep 6 2015, 4:45pm

Photo via Martin Meissner/AP

Neo-Nazis shouted anti-immigrant slogans and clashed with police and volunteers who had gathered to donate help and supplies to migrants and refugees arriving at a German train station on Saturday.

At least 26 members of the far-right group Die Rechte arrived at the Dortmund train station shouting "Germany for the Germans, foreigners out," and "Nationalism purely in the heart," according to the German newspaper Die Welt.

The group arrived as hundreds of good Samaritans were readying for the arrival of 1,400 migrants and refuges, just a fraction of the tens of thousands of people who have been attempting to reach Germany.

While police attempted to keep the neo-Nazis from clashing with anti-Nazi protesters, tensions escalated when the cops attempted to remove the far-right group members from the station. Video from the scene shows the anti-Nazi crowd chanting "Nazis, get out!" as police and protesters surge through the main entryway of the station. According to Die Welt, anti-Nazi protesters started throwing bottles and coffee cups, forcing the police to use pepper spray and move the neo-Nazi members into a nearby store.

Related: One Man Dies As Hundreds Attempt to Flee Detained Train in Hungary

According to Die Welt, the clashes were over by the time the trains arrived from Hungary carrying the migrants and refugees. The crowd cheered and welcomed the new arrivals with food and blankets. People chanted in English, "Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here!"

Related: An Egyptian Billionaire Says He's Shopping for a Private Island for Refugees

Elsewhere in Germany, dozens of people gathered at a bus station in Saalfeld to welcome hundreds of refugees arriving after a long journey from Budapest via Austria. Video showed the Germans cheering and breaking into song as the refugees arrived.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees have left war-torn areas in the Middle East and Africa in search of stability and safety in Europe. Germany is expected to take in 800,000 asylum seekers — four times as many as in 2014.

Germany has greeted the record numbers of migrants with a wave of solidarity. According to television channel ARD, 88 percent of Germans say they are willing to donate clothing and money to help refugees, while 67 percent say they would gladly volunteer with migrant support groups.

A few months ago, a couple in Berlin launched the Refugees Welcome initiative — a website that matches displaced migrants with people willing to share their homes. According to the Guardian, more than 780 Germans are currently enrolled in the program.

Related: Through Hell and Hungary: Riding the Rails With Refugees in Budapest

Bayern Munich — one of the biggest and wealthiest soccer clubs in Europe — unveiled several initiatives this week to help migrants locally, including a pledge to raise 1 million euros for refugee support groups at an upcoming friendly match. "Germany is currently experiencing its greatest influx of refugees for many decades," the club said, describing the migrant situation as "a special challenge to the state and society."

The club also plans to open a "training camp" that will offer young migrants and refugees soccer training and German lessons. Attendees will also be fed and provided with a full soccer kit.

Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martínez visited a Munich train station on Friday morning to welcome newly-arrived migrants to Germany. Martínez handed out shirts and soccer balls to young migrants, tweeting "Every little helps!"

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande agreed Thursday on the need for quotas to relocate refugees fairly across the EU. Hollande — who had previously spoken against the measure — carefully avoided the term "quota," instead referring to the system as a "permanent and compulsory welcoming mechanism."

The two leaders recently sent a joint letter to the heads of the European Commission and the European Council that outlined the urgent need for measures to tackle the migrant crisis. According to French daily Le Monde, which obtained a copy of the letter, Merkel and Hollande pressed the EU to establish centers to fast track the asylum process for political refugees in Italy, Greece, and othermigration "hot spots." 

Europe's interior ministers are due to meet in Brussels on September 14 to discuss the issues surrounding the migrant crisis.

Follow Gillian Mohney on Twitter: @gillianmohney

VICE News' Lucie Aubourg contributed to this report.

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Germany
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