News & Politics

Berlin Creates 'Safe Zones' for Women at New Year's Celebrations

Swiss performance artist Milo Moire holds a sign "Respect us! We are no fair game even when we are naked!!!" as she protests in front of the Cologne cathedral following the sexual assaults and robberies during the New Year's Eve festivities in Germany. (AP Photo/Dorothee Thiesing)

Out of fear of 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. Women can go to the safe zones when they are harassed or simply don’t feel safe.

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 wallets and smartphones, and that’s about it.

Although it’s rather pathetic that Berlin feels forced to take such measures, they certainly are defensible. After all, nobody wants a repeat of what happened in Cologne two years ago. Something similar happened at Berlin’s own Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures).