BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s police chief has said that the uncontrolled influx of refugees into the country posed a domestic security threat as more than 8,000 streamed over the Austrian border to Bavaria on Wednesday alone.
Germany is struggling to cope with the arrival of an expected 800,000 to 1 million migrants this year, many from war zones in the Middle East, and officials are openly worrying about a potential rise in right-wing radicalism amongst Germans.
“The security situation is getting worse with the growing numbers of refugees,” Holger Muench, head of the BKA federal police, told weekly magazine Focus.
“Conflicts among asylum-seekers are increasing, the mood among the right is being stirred. This dynamic worries me,” he said, adding that the situation was “difficult and tense”.
Muench said the number of offences against asylum seekers’ shelters had tripled so far this year to 600, of which at least 543 had a right-wing background. This compares to 198 for the whole of last year.
He said the BKA had registered 95 violent crimes and 49 arson attacks, while it was examining 10 cases of refugees suspected of taking part in war crimes abroad or for being a member of a terrorist organization.
Worries about how Germany will cope with the influx have chipped away at support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and caused a rift with its sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), which governs the state of Bavaria - the main point of entry for migrants.
On Wednesday, Interior Minister Thomas De Maiziere accused Austria of trying to push refugees over the German border after dark and called on Vienna to handle migrants in a more orderly fashion.
Despite this, a spokeswoman for German police said 8,150 migrants arrived in Bavaria on Wednesday, of which about 6,600 crossed the border in the area close to Passau. She said Austria continued to bus migrants to its shared border with Germany in an un-coordinated fashion.
A further 1,674 migrants crossed illegally into Germany from Denmark, police said.
Reporting by Thorsten Severin; Writing by Caroline Copley