Clausnitz germany transparent.jpg
Photograph: EPA/HENDRIK SCHMIDT

The chief of police in the German city of Chemnitz has admitted that officers struggled to gain control when an angry mob attempted to block migrants from getting off a bus in a nearby town.

Up to 100 anti-migrant protesters gathered in front of accommodation for asylum seekers in Clausnitz, situated near the Czech border, in an attempt to blockade new arrivals on Thursday evening.

There has been strong criticism of the police response, after police orders for the crowd to clear off were reportedly met with jeers and laughter.

"Looking back, it was a misjudgement," police chief Uwe Reissmann said on Saturday. Less than 20 officers had been present at the scene when tensions spiked.

Reissmann added that they were outnumbered and therefore unable to clear the road.

Videos of a police officer forcibly dragging a scared boy from the bus and into the accommodation have also sparked outrage online.

However, Reissmann argued that the asylum seekers were partly to blame for the escalation and called the officer's behaviour "absolutely necessary and appropriate."

The police chief said the passengers in the bus were filming the incident and had made rude gestures at the protesters outside.

Several charges have been filed for unlawful assembly and disturbing the peace. Reissmann expects that number could rise.

The incident is the latest in a string of protests targeting refugee accommodation in Germany, as right-wing groups lash out at the country's decision to open its doors to more than 1 million migrants last year.

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