New Year’s mayhem in Germany, including harassment of women, sparks debate on mass immigration

A new video of German women being sexually harassed by migrants in addition to scenes of destruction in Germany on New Year’s Eve have been politically explosive

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: John Cody
A burned-out bus in Berlin's Neukölln district on January 3. (Markus Schreiber)

A debate has erupted among Germany’s political parties over the connection between the country’s growing migrant population and the violent attacks on New Year’s Eve. Although police data now shows the overwhelming majority of those arrested were migrants, the governing Social Democrats (SPD) say that integration policies should not be blamed for the events.

However, the shocking events, which saw Berlin and other cities turned into a war zone, are not being pushed aside this time by claims of racism, With the German public already souring on immigration even before the events of New Year’s Eve, the anti-immigration, opposition party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), and the left-center CDU are pointing to a failed immigration policy, a position that could find fresh support from a weary German public. These parties, along with police unions, are urging Germany to have an open debate about who was behind the violence and why.

“It’s all about illegal migration, failed integration, and lack of respect for the state, not fireworks,” Jens Spahn, a CDU politician and the country’s former health minister, told German news portal t-online.

In Spahn’s opinion, the New Year’s Eve attacks are proof of the weakness of the state, and politicians should ask why violent scenes are repeated year after year in Germany. One of the most violent incidents in recent New Year’s Eve celebrations was the gang rapes and assaults on women in Cologne in 2015 by young men of North African and Middle Eastern origin, shortly after Angela Merkel, who led Spahn’s party at the time, allowed over 1 million migrants to enter the country.

The CDU, which promoted mass immigration for years, also fears a rising AfD buoyed by its tough stance on the issue.

In the German newspaper Junge Freiheit, columnist Laila Mirzo pointed out the absurdity of the reaction to immigrant men attacking police and rescue services with firework rockets and other weapons:

“How many people supported a ban on airplanes after the September 11, 2001, attacks? How many for a ban on trucks after Islamic terrorist Anis Amri drove a stolen truck into the busy Christmas market on Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz and murdered 13 people? Or after the truck attack in Nice with 86 dead and over 400 injured?

At the time, there were no corresponding calls for a ban or similar discussions. No sane person would engage in such a debate. The almost hysterical demands for a ban on firecrackers after the New Year’s Eve riots are purely a diversionary maneuver to take the focus away from the actual problem: The problem is not the misuse of New Year’s Eve rockets, but the actors who carried this out.

Anyone who has seen the amateur videos of the war-like riots on New Year’s Eve does not need “experts” to analyze the escalations. If you keep your eyes open and listen to the dialogues and comments, you will quickly realize that the rioters are mainly young men with a migration background.”

She then shared a video from author and journalist Judith Savino Basad where one migrant male tells a reporter, “We already f**ked all the girls and the police can lick our balls,” as firework rockets explode around him.

Basad then wrote in a separate post, “Not a day goes by without some politician professing feminism and speaking out against sexism — except when women are being harassed by the wrong perpetrators. All documentation is here.”

The video shows one of the migrant men, saying, “Hey, baby,” while two girls are being interviewed. The reporter asked, “Do you feel OK here on New Year’s?” One of the girls responds, “No, I had fireworks shot at me.” The other girl later says, “It’s creepy, we are afraid that something is going to happen,” as migrant men touch them from behind.

One of the men says, “Nobody is going to make you afraid, lovely girl. We are also nice boys.”

Jochen Kopelke, president of the GdP police union, said, “What is needed is an immediate debate, results, clear concepts, and a plan to prevent a repetition of these shocking events next year,”

As Remix News reported earlier, In Berlin, police and firefighters responded to 3,943 incidents, with 15 firefighters and 18 police officers injured. While Berlin’s Green MP Canan Bayram accused those on the right of political point-scoring by using the mayhem to “instigate a racist discourse,” police have since reported that 70 percent of those arrested were migrants. Of those arrested with German citizenship, it is unclear how many of those were second- or third-generation migrants, as Germany does not record that data.

New Year’s Eve also saw violence in several cities in Germany’s largest state by population size, North Rhine-Westphalia. There, groups of the rioters consisted predominantly of young men with a migration background, said the state’s interior minister, Herbert Reul, who shared the information with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Although the North Rhine-Westphalian authorities are still working on the identification of the 233 detained persons, according to FAZ, the list of rioters includes Romanian and Bulgarian persons, as well as German-Turkish and German-Lebanese dual citizens. 

In the province, large police forces have been deployed for years to control problematic neighborhoods, where rival groups, often made up of immigrants, are trying to assert their territorial claims.

However, the German government’s integration commissioner, Reem Alabali-Radovan, said the perpetrators should be judged by their actions and not their ethnicity. Nevertheless, the SPD says it also recognizes that there is a “deeper problem” behind New Year’s Eve celebrations turning violent year after year, and that needs to be addressed.

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