The German Interior Ministry has rejected the populist party’s call for giving power to police officers to use firearms against refugees.
Frauke Petry, head of the Alternative for Germany party, said on Saturday that German police should shoot “if necessary” at refugees who try to enter the country illegally.
“That is what the law says,” said the leader of the anti-immigration party, adding, “I don't want this either. But the use of armed force is there as a last resort.”
On Monday, Interior Ministry spokesman Johannes Dimroth said at a press conference, “It goes without saying: no German policeman will use a firearm against people who are searching for protection in Germany.”
“And it goes without saying that the use of firearms against people to stop an illegal border crossing is unlawful.”
Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel, also criticized Petry’s remarks and said she had “disqualified herself” with these comments.
Merkel has come under huge pressure over her policy on refugees. She has resisted calls from some conservatives to impose a cap on the influx of asylum seekers or close Germany's borders.
Merkel has pledged to “measurably reduce” arrivals in 2016, but has refused to introduce a cap, saying it would be impossible to enforce it without closing German borders.
Instead, she has tried to convince other European nations to take in quotas of refugees, has pushed for reception centers to be built on Europe’s external borders, and led a European Union campaign to persuade Turkey to keep refugees from entering the continent. But progress has been slow.
Europe is facing an unprecedented influx of refugees who are fleeing conflict-ridden zones in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.