Some 200 neo-Nazis chanting "Sieg Heil" and "Poles out" clashed with police in this border town Monday as visa rules were lifted and thousands of Poles began flooding west.
Witnesses said youths fired rockets, spat at Poles and gave the straight-arm Hitler salute during their midnight attempt to block a border bridge in protest at new rules allowing easy entry into Germany and five other nations.Apparently undeterred by the hostile reception, thousands of Poles in cars and buses and on foot jammed crossings for a taste of their freedom to travel without visas.
Police used batons to disperse the youths and detained 15 of them, spokesman Horst Roese said. They also confiscated knives, fireworks, air pistols and cobblestones.
Two Poles were injured when neo-Nazis stoned a bus carrying an orchestra back from the Netherlands.
Police said there could be further protests, and more federal border guards with muzzled dogs were called.
The chief German border guard officer for the 268-mile long Polish frontier, said that by midmorning about 50,000 Poles had crossed the 24 border points.
Reflecting deep-seated anti-Polish sentiments, the German media and local inhabitants have said they are bracing themselves for runs on their shops.
Kohl visits eastern city
During a weekend visit to eastern Germany, his first since being elected chancellor of a united Germany, Helmut Kohl was greeted warmly by some residents but also had to dodge jeers and eggs.
The opposition Social Democrats alleged that Kohl's Sunday visit to Erfurt, an unemployment-troubled industrial city, shows he is trying to avoid the former communist region's citizenry and their overwhelming problems.
But the chancellor's office said Monday that he would go ahead with another planned visit to the struggling lands.
Herta Daeubler-Gmelin, the Social Democrats' No. 2 official, criticized Kohl for meeting what she said were "hand-picked" Erfurt citizens.