Germany gears up to receive 40,000 migrants over weekend
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Germany gears up to receive 40,000 migrants over weekend

Troops deployed to Munich where most are expected to arrive; polls show majority favor move to take in refugees

A policemen leads migrants to a temporary shelter upon their arrival in Munich from Budapest on September 12, 2015.  (AFP/ DPA / SVEN HOPPE)
A policemen leads migrants to a temporary shelter upon their arrival in Munich from Budapest on September 12, 2015. (AFP/ DPA / SVEN HOPPE)

Germany is preparing to receive a large influx of migrants over the next few days, officials say, with as much as 40,000 expected in Munich over the weekend.

Some 4,000 troops were deployed to the area for logistical support, according to the BBC.

Germany is a top destination for Syrian and other refugees and migrants seeking shelter, with tens of thousands making their way from Turkey, through Greece, Macedonia and Hungary to Austria then Germany.

Munich mayor Dieter Reiter urged other German regions to do more to accommodate the influx of migrants, calling the failure to do so “scandalous,” according to the BBC.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this week that Germany would have an open door policy when it comes to migrants and would not put a cap on how many to take in.

A strong majority of Germans favored the move, according to surveys published Friday.

Two-thirds, or 66 percent, of those who responded to the ZDF Politbarometer poll said they agreed with the decision to give refuge to asylum seekers stranded in Hungary, while only 29% were opposed.

An overwhelming 85% also believe that even more refugees will head to Germany, found the survey by the public broadcaster.

Berlin has said it expects to receive 800,000 asylum seekers this year, four times as many as last year and the equivalent to about 1% of its population.

Nevertheless, 62% of those polled believed Germany can cope with the surge in refugees, while only 35% disagreed.

And 43% approved of Merkel’s grand coalition’s plans to pump an extra six billion euros into the refugee relief effort. One in four even wanted more funds unlocked, against 22% who wanted the sum slashed.

Another survey, by public broadcaster ARD Germany, showed similar sentiments, with 61% saying they were not afraid that too many refugees were arriving in the country.

Despite the popular backing, the government’s welcoming attitude to refugees has sparked discord within Merkel’s conservative camp of CDU Christian Democrats and their CSU Bavarian allies.

CSU vice president Hans-Peter Friedrich called Merkel’s decision “an unprecedented political error” that would have “catastrophic consequences”, according to a report published Friday in the Passauer Neue Presse daily.

“We have lost control,” he said, warning that it was “completely irresponsible to allow thousands of people to enter without controlling and registering them, and one can’t really estimate how many IS fighters or Islamists are among them.”

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