Berlin to provide 'safety zone' for women at New Year's event tonight

Two people have been killed by fireworks amid new year celebrations in Germany it has emerged

'By doing so one is saying there are safe zones and unsafe zones.

Wendt said the move appeared to ignore the "political dimension" in Germany, two years after hundreds of women reported being assaulted or robbed during New Year's Eve celebrations in Cologne. This would indicate "the end of equality, freedom of movement and self-determination", he added, stressing that women should have a right to be safe everywhere.

Organisers of a New Year's Eve party here are to set up a "safe zone" for women for the first time, a media report said on Friday.

"[Assaulted women] can stay here and calm down or speak to someone trained to offer psychological support", Anja Marx, the spokeswoman of Berlin's main New Year's Eve celebrations, told the Washington Post.

The number of rapes and sexual assaults recorded in Germany a year ago rose 12.8 per cent compared to 2015.

The country avoided a repeat of the mass groping in Cologne in 2016 amid heightened security and efforts to protect women from sexual harassment. For this season's event Berlin's main New Year's Eve party had a'safe space for women staffed by the Ge

Experts note that migrants in general aren't more likely to commit crimes than German citizens, but the proportion of crimes they commit may increase as they start to make up a larger share of the population.

The legislation, passed in July 2016, also made it easier to deport foreign nationals convicted of sex crimes.

This year's party will feature a new feature - a tented area staffed by the German Red Cross, designed for women who have been harassed, assaulted or feel threatened by other partygoers. Women can go to the safe zones when they are harassed or simply don't feel safe. Both organizers and police officials said they urge victims to file a complaint, to allow the police to take action.

The new security measures will be in place at the Brandenburg Gate and are a result of heightened concerns in Germany about sexual assaults at public events.

Speaking to the German daily Die Welt, a spokesperson for the organizers of the festivities noted that when a similar "safe zone" was erected on the ground of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich this year, 260 women found refuge there and only 30 of them then turned to the police. Other security measures planned for this year's event include concrete bollards and barricades, with large bags prohibited and visitor numbers strictly controlled.

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