- The Washington Times - Monday, February 22, 2016

Onlookers cheered as a suspected arson fire damaged a planned refugee center in eastern Germany early Sunday, police said.

No one was injured in the fire, but some people gathering outside the building expressed “unashamed joy” while the roof burned, Bautzen police said, The Associated Press reported.

Police arrested two people, whom they described as intoxicated 20-year-old locals, after they ignored an order to leave the fire scene. No arrests in connection with the fire were made.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions in Germany over the registration of more than a million asylum-seekers from Syria last year. Opponents have staged protests in front of the refugee homes, which have reported seeing a surge in violence, AP reported.

Investigators in Bautzen, in the eastern state of Saxony, found traces of a fire accelerant at the scene and believe the fire was caused by arson, police said. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the building — a former hotel — can be restored.

It comes after a mob in the small town of Clausnitz, also in Saxony, on Thursday blocked a bus carrying asylum-seekers outside a new refugee home, AP reported.

Saxony Governor Stanislaw Tillich called the two incidents “appalling and shocking, and he pledged that authorities will “bring everyone responsible to account.”

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said everyone is entitled to voice their opinions in Germany, “but there is a threshold of decency and law that must not be crossed — and this threshold was clearly crossed in the incidents in Saxony,” the news agency dpa reported.

“It is completely unacceptable for people who are seeking protection from persecution here to be greeted with hatred and agitation,” Mr. de Maiziere said.

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