Attendance plummets at Oktoberfest amid fears of refugee sex assaults

Refugees in Serbia make their way to the Hungarian border

Refugees in Serbia make their way to the Hungarian border  (REUTERS/Marko Djurica)

The amount of people who attended this year’s Oktoberfest—the world’s largest beer festival in Munich — dropped to its lowest level in 15 years amid growing fears about rampant rapes and other sex crimes often linked to Germany’s burgeoning migrant population.

Oktoberfest 2016 had around 5.6 million visitors, which is some 300,000 fewer than last year. However even with heightened security, the number of reported sex crimes increased to 31 cases, according to police reports.

The low turnout for Oktoberfest is also being partially blamed on the series of recent terror incidents to rock Western Europe, some of which have hit very close to home. In July, a German-Iranian student killed nine people in a Munich shopping mall and then turned the gun on himself. That same week, an Afghan migrant injured five people in an axe attack, and a failed asylum seeker blew himself up outside a music festival in Ansbach, Germany injuring 15 people.

Germany is one of Western Europe’s top destinations for asylum-seeking refugees. It alone accounted for one third of the refugees received last year. It is reported that there were 1.3 million migrants who arrived in Germany in 2015 and nearly half of them were young males.