Women celebrating the New Year in Berlin will have access to a “safe zone,” set up by organizers of the annual festivities in the German capital.
The new security measures are in response to a growing number of sexual assaults committed by migrants, most notably two years ago when hundreds of women reported attacks by roving gangs of migrant men in Cologne.
The German Red Cross will staff Berlin’s new safe zones and offer support to women who have been assaulted or feel unsafe.
“There will be three to four (German Red Cross) helpers who are specially trained and can look after women who feel harassed or threatened,” Anja Marx, a spokeswoman for the celebrations, said in an interview with German national broadcaster rbb.
Police have also said that they will be patrolling the gender-specific tents. A leaked report concluded that more than 1,200 women were assaulted across various German cities during the 2015/2016 New Year’s celebrations.
This year, authorities have banned alcoholic drinks and large bags at the city’s famous Brandenburg Gate. Berlin police also issued recommendations that those attending the event should not bring any valuables or little cash and “avoid aggressive people and groups.”
Some have complained that the designated areas are “discriminatory,” presumably against ethnic minorities or other refugees, according to the BBC.
Germany, under the leadership of Chancellor Angela Merkel, accepted a record number of migrants from the Middle East and Northern Africa in 2015. Since the government’s decision, Germans have seen a steep rise in crime committed by foreigners.
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