Employees of an outdoor swimming pool complex in Berlin have penned a letter to Der Tagesspiegel newspaper complaining about perpetrators they describe as “mainly Arab migrants and Chechens” who are engaging in sexual harassment of women and mass brawls on the premises, while also leaving the complexes in disgusting conditions.
The letter comes after yet another fight broke out between migrant youths at the Berlin Columbiabad in the borough of Neukölln on Sunday which resulted in the popular public pool being cleared of visitors and shutting early. The complex announced on Wednesday that the pool will be closed for the rest of the week, citing staff shortages after a number of employees called in sick with stress.
“The number of incidents and the behavior of some bathers are an extreme burden for our very committed employees in the pools,” the municipal agency which runs the complex, among many others across the German capital, said in a statement. “This is not sustainable in the long run.”
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Under-pressure employees have now spoken out on the issue, telling Der Tagesspiegel that they have had enough of what is becoming a growing problem. “We asked for help, there is a lot of talk, but nothing happens. We can’t do it anymore,” one employee told the newspaper.
Employees recounted conversations with some of the youths attending the complex during which they were told they deserved “to be spat on and beaten,” while another threatened that “New Year’s Eve-like conditions will prevail here,” a time of the year which has now become notorious in Germany with migrant riots and sexual harassment of women.
Concerned staff members claim the majority of the civil disorder and threats come from foreign nationals, and primarily Arabs and Chechens.
The employees explained to German media the position is becoming impossible to manage.
“Due to the fact that the young people form packs and because of the time it takes, it is hardly possible to enforce and register house bans,” they explained.
As well as the social unrest which has become commonplace, perpetrators are also leaving the pool in squalid conditions, and employees have described the hygiene level as catastrophic.
“Feces are excreted in and in front of the bushes, walls, and sanitary facilities are smeared with urine and feces,” the letter revealed.
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To tackle the crisis, employees are demanding extra support and requesting a constant police presence at the site, while calling for tickets to the complex to be limited to families with children and for all tickets to include names so that perpetrators can easily be identified and banned for any further transgressions.
“The baths will examine further measures to avert danger, including more consistent enforcement of house bans,” senior management pledged in response.
Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser has responded to the letter and stated that she backs having a permanent police presence at “problem” pools in Germany. However, in an opinion piece for German newspaper Junge Freiheit, Henning Hoffgaard mocks Faeser’s stance, writing: “The same interior minister who thinks border controls are the devil’s stuff now wants police controls at outdoor pool property boundaries. Will she notice the contradiction herself? Probably not.”
The Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has been rapidly rising in the polls across the country, pinned the blame on the federal government which has long advocated a policy of open borders and mass immigration, and claimed that ordinary Germans are now paying the price.
“In the 90s, as a teenager, I was able to go to the swimming pool in Berlin completely safely and relaxed. Today, Arab men fight there and practice colonization. The solution is not more police; these people have to get out of the swimming pools and out of Germany! #Columbiabad,” wrote AfD politician Thorsten Weiß.
Ronald Glaeser, the leader of the AfD parliamentary group in the Berlin state parliament, also stated: “Anyone who doesn’t want to protect their border will have to close outdoor pools later. This is the logic of illegal mass immigration to our country. A handful of new lifeguards would just be tinkering with symptoms. We need a turning point for open borders.”