German politician sends bus with refugees to Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday.  (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

A bus carrying 31 Syrian refugees was on the way from southern Germany to Berlin on Thursday as a district councilor in Bavaria followed up on his pledge to Chancellor Angela Merkel that he'd send refugees her way if his district could no longer provide accommodation for them.

The act comes amid ongoing concerns about how Germany will deal with the 1.1 million asylum-seekers that flooded in last year. Peter Dreier, a Landshut district councilor, said he wanted to "send a sign that refugee policy cannot continue like this."

Dreier said he had talked with Merkel on the phone last year. He said he warned her that Landshut was reaching its capacity for housing asylum-seekers and told her he'd put refugees on buses to Berlin if his district could no longer handle the influx.

The bus is expected to arrive at Merkel's chancellery around 5 p.m. (1600GMT).

Dreier said the 66 migrant homes in his district are full and that in addition to the asylum-seekers, some 450 people who have received asylum are also still living there because they can't find apartments.

Landshut spokesman Elmar Stoettner told The Associated Press all 31 refugees on the bus have been granted asylum in Germany and volunteered to participate in the bus trip.

Some have relatives in the German capital and others will probably "go back to Bavaria if in Berlin they say that they don't want them."

Most migrants who arrive in Germany first set foot in Bavaria, and cities and communities there, as well as elsewhere across the country, have been struggling for months to provide accommodation for them.