Germany: Bus driver's migrant speech goes viral

Migrants pulling suitcases outside an asylum registration office in Germany Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Germany has seen a surge in asylum applications as well as an increase in attacks on migrants' housing this year

A German bus driver has garnered nationwide media attention after pausing to give a welcome speech to a group of migrants on his bus.

Sven Latteyer made the impromptu announcement as was driving around the quiet Bavarian town of Erlangen, with about 15 young foreigners - some from Africa - on board, the local Nuernberger Nachrichten paper reports. A fellow passenger recounts that the driver grabbed his microphone and said, in English: "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen from all over the world on this bus, I want to say something. I want to say welcome. Welcome to Germany, welcome to my country." He then signed off with: "Have a nice day!"

The speech was greeted with stunned looks followed by laughter and applause, "including from the Germans", the passenger says. "One of the African lads wiped a tear from his eye."

The story quickly went viral in Germany, prompting a wave of positive responses. "Hail to the bus driver," one man tweets alongside a red heart emoticon. Another person writes: "Recently I was saying how nobody says 'Welcome to Germany!' A good thing that I was wrong." Even a newsreader on national TV channel ZDF appeared to briefly choke up when retelling the story.

Mr Latteyer says that he felt moved to make the speech by the experience of his brother-in-law, who fled the Kosovo conflict in the 1990s, and his grandfather, who was wounded in World War Two.

Almost 180,000 people claimed asylum in Germany during the first half of 2015 - twice the number who did so in the same period last year. There has also been a surge in attacks on migrants' accommodation, including vandalism and arson carried out by far-right groups across the country.

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