Around 200 African migrants in refugee accommodation in the small southern German town of Ellwangen have forced police to release a man who was due to be deported to the Congo.
The 23-year-old man was un-handcuffed by police who considered themselves outnumbered after the large crowd of refugees, reportedly mostly African, threatened violence against officers who had arrived in three police cars.
According to local reports there was little prospect of backup as other police units would have taken several hours to arrive.
The large group of migrants reportedly surrounded the patrol cars and threatened the police. “They were so aggressive and threatened us more and more, so we had to leave the man behind and retreat to the gate [of the refugee facility],” one officer said, adding that there was some damage to the cars.
The migrants then sent a messenger to the police, bearing an ultimatum: that they had to remove the handcuffs from the Congolese national within two minutes, or that they would storm the gate.
The police decided to give the security guard at the refugee facility a key to release the man.
The vice president of the Aalen Police Headquarters, Bernhard Weber, told German newspaper Stuttgarter Zeitung: “I can only pay my colleagues great respect for having kept cool heads in such an aggressive and exceptional situation.”
But he added: “It is also very clear that the rule of law can not be prevented by an aggressive crowd. The law will be enforced, that's what we stand for. We will continue to pursue our mission consistently.”
The Congolese national has reportedly gone into hiding.
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