Out of fear for a replay of what happened two years ago in the city of Cologne — when groups of migrant men abused dozens of German women celebrating the arrival of the new year — the city of Berlin has decided to create “safe zones” for women at the New Year’s celebration at Brandenburg Gate.
On New Year’s Eve 2015, about 1,200 women became victims of sexual assault in several major German cities, with more than 600 women attacked in Cologne and about 400 victims in the northern German city of Hamburg.
Prosecutors established that more than 2,000 men were involved in the assaults, but only a tiny fraction — about half of them foreign nationals who at the time had only recently arrived in the country — had been identified a year later.
It took months for the full scale of the 2015 assaults to emerge, but when prosecutors released their final estimates, Germans’ attitude toward refugees changed dramatically:
To many, New Year’s Eve 2015 is the night Germany’s welcoming attitude toward newcomers ended. Leading politicians called for tougher deportation laws soon thereafter.
The safe zones are guarded by members of the Red Cross. There will also be psychologists present to help the women deal with the abuse they might suffer.
The safe zones were created at the request of Berlin’s police department. Earlier, the October Fest in Munich experimented with these safe zones, which proved to be very useful.
In addition to creating safe zones, the police have also informed would be partygoers that they are not allowed to bring their own alcoholic drinks to the party at Brandenburg Gate, or even to carry a backpack with them. They can go to the celebrations with their wallet and smartphone, and that’s about it.
Firenze Sage: Why go out if you end up in a group therapy session surrounded by the Red Cross?