Germany: Young Socialists call for male ban at this year’s Easter folk festivals

Osterwiese festival in Bremen. (Wikimedia Commons)
By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

The youth wing of Germany’s governing SPD party in the city of Bremen has called for male-free days at upcoming Easter festival events due to an increasing number of sexual assaults on women taking place in the region.

The Young Socialists (Jusos) want some days to be women-only at the large local fairs of Osterwiese and Freimarkt so female attendees can enjoy themselves without the threat of sexual assault.

Last year, the number of sexual assaults in the region rose to a record high, according to crime statistics published on Thursday. The liberal coalition state government does not distinguish between German and foreign nationals; however, there have been multiple reports at these events in recent years of women suffering harassment by migrants.

The youth organization said sexual assaults have become commonplace at the events, and nearly every visitor now either sees or hears about an incident of harassment or sexual assault.

Showmen do not want a ban on men

“In particular, women and LGBT people must be able to participate in the Easter Fair without fear of becoming victims of sexual harassment,” said vice state chairwoman Lara Gerecke.

The organization called for a trial that would see one day held at both folk festivals this year without male visitors. “In the end, the organizers, performers, and law enforcement officers must organize a safe festival,” said Juso state leader Sebastian Schmugler.

The move has been rejected by an association representing performers at the event, who argue it will damage business to exclude a large part of their potential audience. The association insisted the festivals already do enough to support the protection of women, including awareness teams on site to assist in emergency situations.

They do not consider a ban on men to be the right way to go: “We are a family folk festival and ensure that all visitors can feel safe,” emphasized the association’s chair, Rudolf Robrahn.

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