Angela Merkel booed refugee shelter
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was booed during a visit to an asylum seeker facility in the eastern town of Heidenau (Reuters)

German chancellor Angela Merkel was heckled by xenophobic demonstrators who described her a "traitor" as she visited a refugee centre targeted by violent far-right protests this past weekend (22 and 23 August).

About 200 protesters angered at the number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany booed the 61-year-old leader in the eastern town of Heidenau, near Dresden.

The demonstrators addressed the chancellor with slogans such as "traitor, traitor" and honking car horns, AFP reported.

Merkel was in Heidenau to meet with aid workers and refugees as a show of solidarity after violent anti-immigration riots took place there at the weekend.

Dozens of police officers were injured in clashes with bottle-throwing far-right militants who wanted to prevent refugees from moving into the shelter.

Merkel described the unrest as "shocking" and "shameful" and was echoed by Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who said: "At the same time as we see a wave of people wanting to help, we have a rise in hate, insults and violence against asylum seekers. That is obscene and unworthy of our country. Anyone who acts like that faces the full force of the law."

Earlier, President Joachim Gauck also met volunteers at a refugee centre for asylum seekers in Wilmersdorf, Berlin. "They want to help, they want to show that there's a bright Germany full of light, as opposed to the impression we get of a dark Germany when we hear about attacks on asylum seekers," he said.

The incident came as Europe's largest economy is expecting to receive some 800,000 asylum seekers, including many fleeing war in Syria and Iraq, this year, to the growing discontent of a fringe of Germans.

Opposition to mass immigration has increasingly escalated into episodes of violence in recent months with more than 200 attacks on refugee centres reported since January.

In the latest episode, a migrant shelter was targeted by suspected arsonists in the town of Nauen, 10 miles west of Berlin.