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2018 Ellwangen police raid

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A police raid in Ellwangen, Germany, on 30 April 2018 led to clashes between the German police and migrants living there. A second raid was conducted on 3 May 2018, in which 12 people were injured. The case received national as well as international media attention, sparking the public debate about migrant integration and the deportation process.[1][2]

Incidents[edit | edit source]

On 30 April 2018, police officers clashed with residents of a migrant shelter in Ellwangen over the deportation of an asylum seeker from Togo, the 23-year-old Yussif O. Between 150 and 200 residents surrounded the officers, threatened them and damaged one police car, preventing the police officers to leave.[2] It would have taken hours for police reinforcements to arrive. The migrants sent a messenger with an ultimatum to the police: if they would not remove the handcuffs of Yussif O. within two minutes, they would storm the gate, behind which the officers were hiding.[3] So they forced officers to retreat and let the suspect go.[1][4]

Three days later a second raid was conducted with hundreds of policemen to re-establish the rule of law.[2][5] They arrested Yussif O. In addition, several persons suspected of drugs offences were arrested, and 17 residents were moved of the hostel, home to around 500 mostly African asylum seekers, to other locations.[1] 27 asylum seekers offered resistance, while some were injured, when they jumped out of the windows.[2] 292 people were checked, twelve people were injured in total, among these one police officer.[6]

Bernhard Weber, a police spokesman, said, they acted because of concerns, that a "lawless area with organised structures" was developing at the shelter.[1]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

On 8 May 2018, the Stuttgart Administrative Court ruled that the deportation of the man from Togo to Italy is legal.[7] O. then called the Federal Constitutional Court.[8] On 14 May 2018, the Constitutional Court ruled that O. could be deported, and he was deported to Italy subsequently.[9] Die Zeit reported his case and called him the "most famous unknown of the country";[10] in fact, the media baptized him the «Togolese von Ellwangen», i.e., "the Togolese from Ellwangen."[11] He initially arrived in Milan,[12] but Die Welt reported that he was in Rome and homeless;[13] It was discovered that he was not a Togo national.[14] and wanted to go back to his homeland Ghana.[15]

On 11 May, there was a demonstration by the inhabitants of the migrant shelter in Ellwangen to stop deportations, supported by a leftist group.[16]

Reactions[edit | edit source]

While many politicians, including some of Alliance '90/The Greens, were praising the police and calling for the adherence of German law, some right wing politicians stated that the influx of migrants had threatened law and order.[1] Horst Seehofer (CSU), the Interior Minister, said: "Such behaviour has to be tackled with the full force of the law," adding: "This is a slap in the face of law-abiding citizens." Alice Weidel of the Alternative for Germany stated: "The rule of law is being trampled on by its ‘guests’. This is just the beginning."[1] Also the Cicero magazine and Bloomberg critizised the handling of deportations by the German authorities,[17][18] while according to Der Stern the German state showed its ability to act.[19]

During the following debate, Alexander Dobrindt (CSU) - in light of the legal proceedings led by Yussif O. and his lawyer - spoke of an "anti-deportation industry", preventing legal deportations.[10][20] This was heavily critizised, among others by the German Bar Association, and complaints against him were made by some lawyers.[21] Dobrindt hardened his criticism, speaking of "deportation saboteurs". While The Left accused Dobrindt of "poisoning" the "social peace", Baden-Württemberg deputy Minister President Thomas Strobl (CDU) expressed his support for Dobrindt and called his criticism "comprehensible".[22] As a consequence from the case, also other CDU politicians, such as Saxony Minister President Michael Kretschmer demanded to reduce development aid for countries which do not cooperate with deportations.[23] Armin Schuster (CDU) stated: "In our constitutional state, there are clear red lines, which are now deliberately exceeded almost daily by asylum seekers." He demanded quicker deportations for criminal asylum seekers.[24]

Winfried Kretschmann (Greens), Minister President of Baden-Württemberg, thanked the police, adding: "We do not tolerate any legal vacuum, and this attack on police officers must be punished". As a consequence of the events, Irene Mihalic of the Green Party critizised plans of the Federal government, especially the Interior Ministry, to establish "anchor centres" (Ankerzentren) for migrants, which are planned by the government to organize faster deportations.[6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Clashes at migrant hostel stir German integration fears, Reuters, 3 May 2018
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 German police catch fugitive asylum-seeker following raid, Deutsche Welle, 3 May 2018
  3. Hundreds of migrants in German town prevent deportation of man to Congo, The Independent, 2 May 2018, falsely claiming the man was from Congo
  4. Cockburn, Harry (2 May 2018). "Hundreds of migrants in German town prevent deportation of man to Congo". The Independent. Retrieved 17 June 2018. 
  5. Markus Melzl (24 May 2018). "The trauma of Ellwangen". Basler Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 17 June 2018. The fact that the rule of law could only be restored through the use of hundreds of policemen clearly shows that such an action is doomed to failure 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Grüne kritisieren Pläne für Sammelunterkünfte, Die Zeit, 3 May 2018
  7. Abschiebung des Togoers nach Italien zulässig, Stuttgarter Zeitung, 8 May 2018
  8. Togoer klagt in Karlsruhe gegen Abschiebung, Zeit.de, 11 May 2018
  9. Togolese Yussif O. ist abgeschoben, Berliner Zeitung, 15 May 2018
  10. 10.0 10.1 Der Staatsfeind, Die Zeit, 23 May 2018
  11. "Deported from Ellwangen lives homeless in Rome". Pfalz-Express (in German). 23 May 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2018. Yussif O., who became known as the "Togolese of Ellwangen" 
  12. "Togolese asylum-seeker who fought deportation lands in Italy". Deutsche Welle. 15 May 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2018. The man has arrived in Milan one day after authorities denied his appeal to stay in Germany. 
  13. Abgeschobener Togoer aus Ellwangen jetzt obdachlos in Rom, Die Welt, 23 May 2018
  14. "Deferred refugee apparently comes from Ghana". Wochen Kurier (in German). 17 May 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2018. When he arrived in Italy in 2017, he also had Ghanaian papers with him. When entering Germany, however, the man had claimed to have no papers. 
  15. "Deported refugee from Ellwangen lives homeless in Rome". Die Zeit (in German). 23 May 2018. Retrieved 17 June 2018. He was not from Togo, but Ghana and wanted to go back there. 
  16. „Stopp, stopp, stopp Deportation“, Schwäbisches Tagblatt, 11 May 2018
  17. Gefesselt von Weltoffenheit, Cicero, 4 May 2018
  18. Germany Needs a New Approach to Deport Migrants, Bloomberg.com, 7 May 2018
  19. Der Rechtsstaat war nicht am Ende - wie die Empörung mal wieder die Realität verzerrt, Der Stern, 3 May 2018
  20. Dobrindt beklagt "Anti-Abschiebe-Industrie", Der Spiegel, 6 May 2018
  21. Anwälte zeigen Alexander Dobrindt an, Frankfurter Rundschau, 22 May 2018
  22. Dobrindt setzt noch einen drauf, Tagesschau, 13 May 2018
  23. Union droht mit Entzug von Entwicklungshilfe, Frankfurter Allgemeine, 6 May 2018
  24. Geflüchteter Togolese gefunden, Frankfurter Allgemeine, 3 May 2018

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