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15 injured in Germany refugee riot over defaced Koran

By Tomas Monzon
15 injured in Germany refugee riot over defaced Koran
Thuringen in Germany, where Suhl is located. Image by Artalis/Shutterstock

SUHL, Germany, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Riots erupted in the town of Suhl, Germany Thursday after an Afghan man tore pages from the Koran at a refugee center.

Four police officers and 11 asylum seekers were injured after one man's defacement of the Koran angered 20 other residents.

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The confrontation escalated into a riot that involved around a hundred refugees. Nearly 125 police officers were dispatched to the scene to break up the fights, who were then pelted by the refugees with sticks and stones. Two police officers were seriously injured and seven police vehicles were damaged as well.

Four hours later, the situation was brought under control. The Afghan man was taken into police custody as a safety measure, although police are currently investigating charges of breach of the peace, assault and criminal damage.

The refugee facility in Suhl has been the subject of criticism. Suhl's Mayor, Jens Triebel, threatened to shutter the facility in early August due to the building's structural defects. These were since fixed, but an overcrowding issue remains, which was the cause for another riot in early August when refugees refused to sleep in the facility's hallways.

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A refugee council has pressed the state government of Thuringen, where Suhl is located, to build another refugee shelter. The state's Prime Minister, Bodo Ramelow, says separate buildings should house refugees of different ethnic groups.

In July, Germany's migration office received a record 79,000 asylum applications in a single month. Most of the country's migrants come from Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Serbia.

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