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Rival rallies highlight migrant tensions in German city

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Rival rallies highlight migrant tensions in German city

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Pro- and anti-migrant demonstrators staged rival rallies in the east of Germany on Saturday.

Tensions are such in the city of Cottbus that local authorities have temporarily stopped sending asylum seekers there.

It comes after several Syrian teenagers were detained over two knife attacks.

Determined to keep providing a warm welcome, however, local resident Sonja Newiak said:

"I have the feeling that real hysteria has been stirred up here, and now it's time to act against it to stop it."

But anti-refugee sentiment is high in the largely working class city, amid public concern over Chancellor Merkel's decision in 2015 to welcome more than a million asylum seekers.

“Why am I here? To defend my country," said one young man, protesting against the asylum seekers.

"It can’t be that refugees walk around with knives here in Cottbus and attack people!"

Last week police arrested six members of the far right in Cottbus where on Saturday protesters hostile to immigrants outnumbered theose in the counter-demonstration.