Carolers say refugees are welcome in Germany.
Several choirs, made up of both locals and refugees, joined together to spread a message of unity, with some holding signs that read “Berlin Stands Together” and “You Will Not Divide Us,” according to the same report. Organizers estimated that some 200 people participated.
At least 12 people died and 50 more were injured Monday when a truck plowed through a popular Christmas market in the German capital in what authorities are calling a terror attack. Police initially arrested a Pakistani asylum-seeker who denied involvement and was later released for lack of evidence.
Authorities said they are now looking for a Tunisian-born man named Anis Amri as a potential suspect. He applied for asylum in 2015 and his application was denied after immigration ruled him a security threat, Reuters reported.
Within hours of Monday’s attack, public figures and social media users alike were quick to blame the loss of life on Chancellor Angela Merkel and her open door refugee policy. As millions of people fled war-torn Syria and Iraq in 2015, among other places in the Middle East and North Africa, Merkel welcomed more than 1 million asylum-seekers, saying there was no limit to the number of refugees Germany would accept.
In the wake of violence allegedly committed by refugees, many Germans have strongly criticized her policy and called for more controls on immigration. Most recently, police arrested a teenage Afghan asylum-seeker in early December suspected of the rape and murder of a 19 year-old woman, fueling ongoing debate about the refugee crisis in Germany.
Allies within Merkel’s party and throughout Berlin have made repeated calls not to blame an entire refugee population for the acts of a select few.
The terror organization known as the Islamic State group, or ISIS, took responsibility for Monday’s attack. ISIS has a history of attempting to frame refugees for terror attacks that were committed by European nationals, as was the case in the November 2015 attacks in Paris.