The city of rostock commemorated the racist riots in the district of lichtenhagen 25 years ago with a memorial event on tuesday evening.
At the start of a week of commemoration, mecklenburg-western pomerania’s minister-president manuela schwesig (SPD) said in her speech: "above all, we want to do everything we can to ensure that events like those we experienced in august 1992 never happen again in germany."
From 22. Until 26. August 1992 hundreds of rioters, including many neo-nazis, besieged the central reception center for asylum seekers in the sunflower house in lichtenhagen. Under the applause of residents they attacked the house with incendiary devices. The riots are considered to be the worst racist attacks in german post-war history to date.
Schwesig thanked initiatives and associations in the state for their efforts to combat "right-wing extremism" and promote a vibrant democracy. In view of many attacks on refugee shelters throughout germany, pegida marches and groups such as the "identitarian movement", preventive action must be taken against young people who are easily susceptible to radical ideologies. Right-wing extremism must be addressed openly and not kept quiet for fear of bad headlines, said schwesig.
The chairman of the central council of german sinti and roma, romani rose, said about the riots 25 years ago that the "escalation was preceded by an increasingly aggressive racism in the media and in politics. The violence was first directed against roma refugees who had previously been left to fend for themselves in inhumane conditions. The untenable situation that arose was attributed to an "alleged roma culture" and thus "cynically justified.
Following the event, the first of five thematic commemorative stelae was unveiled in front of the town hall. They should show "that we have understood and learned", said schwesig. The left-wing parliamentary group in the bundestag and pro asylum demanded a right to stay for victims of racist violence on tuesday. It would be "a strong political signal against right-wing violence," give protection to those affected and enable them to cooperate in criminal proceedings against the perpetrators, pro asylum explained.