Here it is the end of October and American Bars has not chatted about Oktoberfest. That is due to the concerns about safety and threats of violence that permeate the noble festival this year.
There are Oktoberfests all over the world. A Google search turns up Oktoberfests everywhere from Mumbai, India to Anchorage, Alaska. However, the only one that really counts is the grand old original in Munich, Germany. However, the celebration this is dampened by weather and intrusion — despite beefed up security.
The world’s biggest beer festival has recorded its lowest turnout for 15 years amid heightened security fears, while at the same time experiencing a massive increase in reported sex crimes.
The Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany had around 5.6 million visitors this year, down a huge 300,000 since last year and the lowest number since just after the September 11th 2001 terror attacks, according to FAZ.
The drop in the number of attendees follows a series of attacks in the German state of Bavaria.
In July, German-Iranian student David Ali Sonboly went on a shooting spree in Munich, killing nine people at a shopping center before turning the gun on himself.
In the same week, an Afghan migrant attacked a train in Würzburg with an axe, injuring at least four people. Then, a failed asylum seeker blew himself up at a bar in the town of Ansbach, injuring 12 people and killing himself.
Major train stations across the nation have been sites for migrant mob attacks upon citizens — beatings, robberies and huge numbers of sexual assaults agains women.
Security was tough this year at Munich’s Oktoberfest. However, despite an overall fall in crime at the festival, the number of reported sex crimes increased this year from 21 to 31.
The group “Safer Wiesn for Girls and Woman” also said 215 women came to security checkpoints for help this year compared to 197 last year, of whom 18 reported suffering violence.
A number of large-scale public events have reported an increase in sexual assaults since the massive influx of migrants began entering Europe last year.
The most notorious example was the New Year’s Eve attacks in the German city of Cologne, in which gangs of mainly North African migrants committed mass sexual assaults against women revelers.
Police received over 1,500 complaints of sexual assault, mugging, pickpocketing and even rape, although it took the local government six months to admit the majority of perpetrators were recently arrived migrants.
Figures showed that 70 per cent of the suspects had been in Germany for less than a year, despite repeated denial by authorities.
So, it rained for five straight days at the noted beer fest, decreasing crowds and possibly decreasing the violence overall. And Yes, any festival would be pleased to have 5.6 million people attend. A loss of 300,000 this year is significant, but not to the overall number.
Still, one has to wonder about the future of such time honored events in the wake of an invasive people and culture that violently condemns and retaliates against any such grand outpouring of fun and food and beer.
At American Bars, we sincerely hope Germany and the rest of Europe can cope and recover from the situation they find themselves immersed in.