World

German City Bans Refugees From Nightclubs

| by Zara Zhi
Men wait to get into a nightclub in GermanyMen wait to get into a nightclub in Germany

A city in Germany has banned refugees from numerous nightclubs after complaints of sexual harassment and theft.

Several women reportedly complained to managers of clubs in Freiburg, Germany, about having been given date-rape drugs and being assaulted in restrooms, the Daily Mail reports. One woman said she had been raped while a bouncer was stabbed by a refugee.

A local club has reportedly started distributing special cards to foreigners, allowing them entry only if they agree to reject “violence, sexism and discrimination.” Other nightclubs have allegedly imposed a blanket ban.

In total, six nightclubs are believed to have barred refugees.

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“It is discrimination,” Ulrich von Kirchbach, Freiburg’s welfare and social services leader, said, according to the Daily Mail. "One cannot rule out a whole group of people like this."

He added that most of the 3,000 migrants in the town have conducted themselves appropriately and that a few “black sheep” can be found anywhere.

“There are always thefts,” police spokesperson Laura Riske said.

“The operators of these establishments have authority over who they do and do not let in,” she added, but cautioned that a blanket ban would be unlawful.

Nightclub White Rabbit released a statement in mid-January.

“We have decided that, for time being, we will not allow into the club people who possess only a temporary residence permit," the statement read. "This is not an easy thing to do but we see no other way as currently we are experiencing problems with refugees.”

White Rabbit has reportedly started distributing the cards that allow immigrants who reject violence and sexism to enter their club.

A 46-year-old woman said that in December 2015 she had been in the White Rabbit when a group of African men allegedly “bothered” guests.

“I was surrounded and marginalized while dancing,” the woman told Badische Zeitung, according to the Daily Mail. “The situation was full of male violence. I felt threatened.”

On the same night, two bouncers reportedly removed five men from the club for harassing another woman who said she had to run from a “gauntlet” of men inside.

Dietmar Ganzmann, operator of the El.Pi student disco, said he had chosen to allow only a certain number of immigrants admission on any given night.

“We prided ourselves on being a cosmopolitan club,” Michael Musiol, owner of the club At the Jazz House, said. "But we cannot always run it so. The claim and the harsh reality diverge here."

Peter Bitsch, owner of the nightclub Kagan, said many women no longer feel safe in the clubs when there are large numbers of refugees present. 

Authorities in Cologne were criticized for downplaying the nationality of many suspects because it might be "politically uncomfortable,"  Deutsche Welle reported.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had been defending her open-door policy, closed German borders after losing support on her stance, even from inside her own political party.

Sources: Daily Mail, Deutsche Welle / Photo credit: Deutsche Welle