How Oktoberfest security has tightened after July attacks
DPA/The Local · 16 Sep 2016, 11:02
Published: 16 Sep 2016 11:00 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 Sep 2016 11:02 GMT+02:00
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The city of Munich and the police have implemented additional measures to ensure the safe drinking of the estimated 6 million festival-goers, after three bloody attacks in July shook the sleepy, prosperous southern state of Bavaria.
“We have done everything that was necessary and appropriate,” said Josef Schmid, deputy mayor of Munich.
“The character of this biggest, most beautiful festival will not change.”
Munich police chief Werner Feiler also assured visitors that "we have no indication of a concrete danger."
"Go out, have a good time, celebrate - but please pay attention to the normal rules," he said.
The city has hired twice as many security guards as last year to ensure security, while an additional 100 police officers will be present in and around the festival.
And for the first time in its almost 200-year history, the festival area will be completely fenced in. Authorities say that the fence can be dismantled in less than a minute in the event of mass panic or overcrowding.
Big bags and rucksacks are also prohibited on festival grounds this year. In addition there will be tighter controls at the gates to ensure that people stick to this rule.
Any bags that have a volume larger than three litres will not be allowed in. But they can be handed in outside the grounds once they have gone through a check of their contents, Schmid stated.
"The best solution is to not bring these things at all," he said.
There have been heightened security concerns ever since three attacks happened in the space of a week in July, two of which were claimed by terror group Isis.
In one attack an 18-year-old Iranian-German killed nine people and himself and wounded dozens more in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre on a Friday evening.
The Monday before, a 17-year-old Afghan refugee wounded five people with an axe on a train near the Bavarian town of Würzburg, but was shot dead later by police.
On the following Sunday a 27-year-old Syrian migrant set off an explosion at a bar in thenearby town of Ansbach, killing himself and wounding over a dozen others.
The prospect of a terror attack is not a new one this year, especially given that the beloved folk fest was already the site of an attack in 1980.
That year, a right-wing extremist planted a bomb that killed 12 people and himself, as well as injuring more than 200.
Despite the increased risk, politicians, comedians, and other celebrities have called on people to come to the festival, reasoning that staying away would play into the hands of terrorists and criminals.
And it seems as though beer lovers aren't afraid of another attack: the speaker of the Oktoberfest innkeepers, Toni Roiderer, said there hadn’t been any more cancellations of reserved tables than usual.
“We’re not going to let a bunch of crazy people bring down our high spirits,” he said.