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Armed youths attack Tyrol refugee centre

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Armed youths attack Tyrol refugee centre
The Bürglkopf centre. Photo: APA/EXPA/JFK
16:53 CET+01:00
Police in Tyrol are investigating an attack on the Bürglkopf refugee centre near the market town of Fieberbrunn on Wednesday evening.

Five youths were heard shouting xenophobic slogans at around half past midnight, 35 metres away from the remote property.

They then shot a gun in the air and reportedly threw fireworks at the centre’s windows.

The youths were dressed in black hooded jackets and shouted things like “foreigners out” and “we’re going to kill you, pigs”, according to an anonymous witness quoted in profil magazine. 

The Bürglkopf centre is on a mountain at an altitude of 1,400 metres and was transformed from countryside accommodation into a federal care institution this year.

The State Office for the Protection of the Constitution said that witnesses are currently being interviewed and the centre is under police protection.

The Interior Ministry denied reports that residents were on a hunger strike. "Only one out of 130 residents talked about going on hunger strike," Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundböck said in an interview with the Austrian Press Agency.

He added that some of the refugees had asked to be moved to another centre, which he said was understandable. "It’s natural that people are feeling confused," he said. However he said that closing the centre was not an option.

Mayor Herbert Grander agreed and said that the refugees were well integrated in the community and there had never been problems before. He told ORF Tirol that he knew nothing about rumours of a riot at the centre.

Grundböck denied that Bürglkopf was lacking necessary equipment. He said the residents had access to a shuttle bus to get into Fieberbrunn and that they would be given counselling and extra security.

Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner told journalists on Friday that it was absolutely wrong to subject people who have fled war and persecution to fear and terror. She warned that certain people were trying to throw “jihadists and asylum seekers in the same pot”, when the refugees had fled jihadists themselves.

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