German residents greeted migrants and refugees arriving with applause but tensions increase on the island of Lesbos
For those who had risked their lives to flee a cruel civil war by rickety boat or in a smugglers’ truck, it would have been a remarkable sight.
Germans gathered by the hundred at train stations on Sunday to welcome refugees arriving in their cities as if they were long-lost friends or returning war heroes.
An estimated 10,000 refugees were expected to arrive in Germany by train from Hungary and Austria on Sunday, and they were greeted with spontaneous rounds of applause and songs, as well as sweets, pastries and toys, on station platforms across the country.
At Munich station, volunteers amassed a large stockpile of food. Helpers at the main train station in Frankfurt formed human chains to pass bags of food, clothing and toiletries to the exhausted arrivals, whom they welcomed with banners and balloons.
Others clutched placards bearing the words ‘We love refugees’, while graffiti artists painted ‘a warm welcome’ in Arabic on the side of a train in Dresden.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, last week announced that Germany would grant asylum to all Syrians in the country, a move credited with hastening the exodus from the east. The country expects to take up to 800,000 refugees this year.
The interior ministry on Sunday night warned other states must still abide by the rules on processing – and therefore looking after – asylum seekers. It warned that “the big willingness to help, which Germany has shown in the last weeks and months, should not be overstretched.”
But while scenes of kindness and generosity were being played out across much of Germany, the picture in Greece was less harmonious on Sunday.
Soldiers and police were dispatched to Lesbos, the holiday island that threatens to become the latest flashpoint in the migrant crisis, and now resembles an African transit camp where 20,000 migrants live in squalid conditions, with nowhere to sleep or wash.
Full article: Migrant crisis: Refugees welcomed in Germany like war heroes as Berlin expects 10,000 in one day (The Telegraph)