German students try to stop police from deporting their Afghan classmate

Screen capture of the protest, where one can see two police officers arresting a protester.
Screen capture of the protest, where one can see two police officers arresting a protester.


A protest outside a training college in Nuremberg in Germany on Wednesday, May 31, turned violent when the police tried to forcibly arrest a young Afghan man. The Afghan man was an asylum seeker due to be deported to Kabul — but his classmates did all they could to stop the police from taking him away.

The 20-year-old asylum seeker was studying to be a carpenter at the college. When the police arrived, around twenty of his classmates tried to block the police car from coming in. Ten others joined them and the small gathering quickly turned into a protest against the expulsion of the Afghan student. Soon locals joined the protest, swelling the ranks to almost 300 people.

But two hours after the demonstration had begun, it started to get out of hand. Reserve police officers had been called in to try to disperse the protesters by using pepper spray, truncheons and dogs. When the police cars left, more than a hundred protesters followed them down the road.

Video of the demonstration in Nuremberg, where you can see police officers starting to make arrests.

The demonstration continues in the centre of town

The police officers managed to leave with the Afghan man, but the protest didn't let up. Protesters headed to the centre of town in Nuremberg, where tensions continued to run high. According to the police, three police officers were injured. The police were not able to confirm the number of injured protesters. Several people were remanded in custody.

The Afghan man was arrested, but was released only a few hours afterwards. There was a bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, on the same day, which killed more than 90 people and struck the part of the town with foreign embassies. All of the flights to Kabul were cancelled.

The same day as a major terrorist attack in Kabul…

In an official statement, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière explained that the German embassy in Kabul was badly damaged by the explosion. He said that the embassy "plays an important logistical role in the arrival of those deported". The deportations have been postponed rather than cancelled outright. Berlin says that Afghanistan is a "safe country", allowing them to deport asylum seekers there. This stance has been criticised by human rights and humanitarian groups, however, as the security situation in Afghanistan does not seem to be stable.

Since December 2016, Germany has deported 106 asylum seekers back to Afghanistan. Only one in two Afghans are granted asylum in the country.