A refugee, who was due to be deported by authorities in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, has disappeared, after about 150 asylum seekers attacked two police patrol cars that had been ordered to remove him, police admitted on Wednesday.
Four officers arrived at a migrant reception center in the town to collect the 23-year-old Togolese man, officials said.
The refugee group then started attacking the patrol vehicles, and harassed and punched the officers, before giving them an ultimatum to free the man.
"They were very aggressive and ordered us to leave the man (...) behind," said one officer who was involved in the fracas.
Look who's giving the orders.
Due to the seriousness of the threat, police at the scene said they ordered a security guard to find the key to unlock the asylum seeker's handcuffs. He then fled the scene.
And of course the police are being praised for their courageous restraint.
The officers' actions were praised by Bernhard Weber, Vice President of the Aalen Police Headquarters, who told the German news agency DPA that although the attack justified a violent response from police, the officers "kept a cool head."
Another Police spokesman Bernhard Kohn, told the online edition of Germany's Focus magazine that officers "face a question of proportionality."
"Just to carry out a deportation, a violent confrontation with such a large crowd would not have ended well."
And of course sending migrants a message that they can intimidate the police, that carries no price. Thefollow-up raidfound all the expected things in the hostel.
A 23-year-old from Togo — whose deportation to Italy was prevented by a group of between 150 and 200 asylum-seekers in the early hours of Monday morning — was recaptured during the operation.
Twenty-seven asylum-seekers offered resistance during Thursday's police action, which involved hundreds of armed officers. Some asylum-seekers were injured jumping out of windows.
Police said they had arrested five asylum-seekers on suspicion of theft or drug-related offenses, while 17 inhabitants are to be moved to other homes. The operation was still ongoing at noon, with asylum-seekers being led away, though the situation was described as being "under control."
"We will not allow any law-free zones to be established," Bernhard Weber, vice president of the local police force, said at a press conference on Thursday morning. Peter Hönle, the local officer who directed Thursday's operation, described the situation as "very tense and very overheated."
Law-free zones. You might call them... no-go zones.
Officers also found the 23-year-old Togolese man, identified by media as Yussif O., whom they had been trying to deport on Monday, police said.