Rise in far-right protests targeting refugee homes as Germany sees more asylum requests

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Germany has seen a spike in far-right protests against refugees this year as the number of people seeking asylum in the country rose by two thirds.

Government figures show 18 "noteworthy" extremist gatherings outside buildings housing refugees this year, compared with three in 2012.

Nearly 100,000 people applied for asylum in Germany between January and November, up from 60,000 in 2012. The rise in claims is partly due to conflicts in Syria and Russia's Caucasus region.

The figures published Tuesday by the opposition Left Party also show extremists committed 42 offenses during the protests, compared with 24 crimes last year.

Almost half the protests this year were organized by the far-right National Democratic Party, or NPD.

Germany's 16 states have asked the country's highest court to ban the party.