Germany: 60 police targeted by 250-strong mob at Berlin swimming pool after woman’s nose broken in dispute

The Columbia spa in Neukölln. (Uta Keseling)
By John Cody
4 Min Read

Another violent incident occurred at a Berlin outdoor pool on Sunday, this time at the notorious Columbiabad in the multicultural neighborhood of Neukölln, which was forced to close down after large crowds grew out of control and began harassing police.

As Remix News reported this week, insecurity at German swimming pools involving migrant populations has long been a theme in the German press, with sexual assaults, mass brawls, and general disorder plaguing what were once peaceful recreation options for families.

According to the police, the dispute at Columbiabad started around 5:15 p.m. when several children are said to have sprayed a 21-year-old and her companions with water pistols against their will while lining up at the water slide. After that, there was a verbal argument in which an unknown man between the ages of 35 and 40 is said to have interfered.

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He, too, is said to have held a water gun directly in front of the 21-year-old’s face and pulled the trigger. The woman allegedly spat at him, and he hit her in the face with the toy. Rescue workers treated the young woman, whose nose was bleeding profusely after the blow, and discovered she had a broken nose. However, she refused treatment at the hospital. The suspect could no longer be located.

When 60 police responded to the incident, people began hurling insults at the officers and harassing them. The police say that they and security staff at the pool were suddenly targeted and harassed by about 250 bathers. After bathers disregarded the instructions of the outdoor pool staff, the shift manager of the security service then decided to close the pool with immediate effect.

Despite police ordering all guests to leave the premises, numerous groups refused. Only after additional police forces arrived did the situation calm down, and the pool was closed early. Police are still conducting numerous investigations, including for dangerous bodily harm and breach of the peace.

Only last weekend, a mass brawl broke out under similar circumstances, which resulted in numerous injures, including to children who were caught in the middle of the melee. Video footage of 100 migrants fighting not only went viral on social media but was also widely featured in German media outlets.

The most recent incident at Columbiabad comes as no surprise. According to Der Spiegel, “the Berlin summer pool in Neukölln was long considered the most notorious outdoor pool in the capital. Scuffles, stabbings, and threats were part of the daily routine at times.” While the situation has improved, criminal incidents are still routine.

The head of the German police union (DPolG) in Berlin, Bodo Pfalzgraf, said with regard to the operation of outdoor pools: “If the pools do not assume their responsibility to hire enough security personnel, they should assume the costs of the [police] response.”

Recent violence in German outdoor swimming pools has also alarmed the Federal Association of German Swimming Champions (BDS) to such an extent that its president, Peter Harzheim, has said he can no longer recommend that families visit such facilities on weekends.

While speaking to Bild TV, Harzheim claimed he would be “acting irresponsibly” if he attended an outdoor pool with his own three grandchildren

In response, the Berlin baths operators promised increased deployment of security personnel, the daily Morgenpost reports.

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