Hamburg, Germany to seize commercial property to house muslim migrants
Hamburg has become the first German city to pass a law allowing the seizure of empty commercial properties in order to house migrants.
The influx of migrants has put pressure on the authorities of the northern city to find accommodation. Some migrants are sleeping rough outdoors.
Hamburg’s law takes effect next week.
In a separate development, prosecutors filed charges of inciting racial hatred against a co-founder of the anti-Islamic Pegida movement.
The prosecutors in the eastern city of Dresden said they acted after Lutz Bachmann had on Facebook described asylum seekers “trash” and “animals”.
Pegida (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident) members have staged a number of rallies in recent months, attracting tens of thousands of people.
Meanwhile, a new survey by broadcaster ARD said 51% of people admitted the influx of migrants scared them. It suggests a four-year low in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s popularity.
She has said Germany can accommodate migrants who have genuinely fled war or persecution – a humanitarian gesture towards the many thousands risking their lives to reach Europe this year.
But many politicians – including her conservative Bavarian CSU allies and various EU partners – have criticised the open-door policy.
Hamburg’s new law is described as a temporary, emergency measure. Owners of empty commercial properties will be compensated.
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