Critics of Berlin 'Safe Zone' for Women Say It Discriminates Against Muslims

  • Critics of Berlin 'Safe Zone' for Women Say It Discriminates Against Muslims

Critics of Berlin 'Safe Zone' for Women Say It Discriminates Against Muslims

There have not been problems at previous New Year's Eve celebrations in Berlin, but fears have grown following the mass sex assaults in Cologne.

Germans who plan to welcome in the new year in Berlin will do so with "safe zones" meant to protect women from sexual assault.

The "women's safety area" is being established at the request of Berlin police after similar zones have been set up at large public gatherings across Germany in recent years.

A past New Year's Eve at Times Square in New York City.

It comes after dozens of women were sexually assaulted and robbed at Cologne's New Year's Eve celebrations two years ago.

The German Red Cross will staff Berlin's new safe zones and offer support to women who have been assaulted or feel unsafe.

Police have also said that they will be patrolling the gender-specific tents.

Hundreds of women reported being attacked by gangs of men with migrant backgrounds.

Strict security measures will be enforced for example large bags, such as rucksacks, and alcoholic drinks will be banned at the Brandenburg Gate.

The incidents happened after Germany accepted a record influx of more than 1 million migrants in 2015, mostly people who were fleeing conflict and poverty in Middle Eastern countries and elsewhere.

Police have also advised women to seek help if they feel threatened and to not bring valuables to the celebrations.

Cologne officials set up a "security point", staffed by social workers and psychologists, at the city's 2016 carnival following the New Year's Eve attacks.

Some have complained that the designated areas are "discriminatory", presumably against ethnic minorities or other refugees, according to the BBC.