Onlookers applauded as a suspected arson fire destroyed a planned refugee shelter in eastern Germany, police said Sunday.
The roof of the former hotel Bautzen, in the eastern state of Saxony, was undergoing renovation when a fire broke out overnight. Police said that no one was injured but reported that bystanders “commented with derogatory remarks” and showed “unashamed joy” as firefighters struggled to subdue the flames.
Police forces ordered three people to leave the scene for obstructing emergency services and detained two “intoxicated 20-year-old locals” for ignoring the order.
Investigators believe the fire was caused by arson and are not certain whether or not the building can be restored.
While most Germans welcomed the refugees, an outspoken minority have protested such shelters, especially in Saxony, which is home to the anti-Islamic and anti-immigration group PEGIDA.
Incidents in Saxony have caused concern in the past including the recent Thursday incident when a mob shouted “We are the people!” and “Go home!” as they blocked a bus carrying refugees outside a new shelter.
Stanislaw Tillich, the governor of Saxony, described both incidents as "appalling and shocking" and pledged that authorities will investigate and find the “criminals” responsible.