The German capital Berlin will host its annual ‘Party mile’ around the Brandenburg gate on Sunday night, where hundreds of thousands of revellers come to dance the night away till the early hours of the morning. The event comes packed with fireworks, live bands (such as Rednex and Whigfield) and multiple DJs, and thanks to what has happened in the past two years during New Year events in Germany, a ‘safety zone’ for women who feel threatened by the presence of men.
A police statement read: “The organisers have set up a safety zone for women who have been victims of a sexual offence or are feeling harassed.”
The installation of such a zone is a direct result of events that took place in Cologne and other German cities during past new year celebrations. At that time, hundreds of women reported sexual attacks and robberies by men outside the main train station at Cologne’s public New Year’s Eve gathering in 2016, where law enforcement was heavily outnumbered by dense crowds.
Groping suspects were largely of North African and Arab background, though German police didn’t report this at first (apparently under instruction of the government). The incidents came immediately after Germany had accepted a record influx of more than one million migrants in 2015 (which were mostly people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and elsewhere, aka economic migrants). It proved to be a turning point for German politics as it coincided with the rise of the nationalist Afd party which was crowned the major winner of the last elections.
Ms Anja Marx, a spokesperson for the Berlin New Year organizers, said: "There will be three to four German Red Cross helpers who are specially trained and can look after women who feel harassed or threatened."