Written by Staff Writer
Cafes, bars and shops have been shut down in Munich and the nearby German state of Bavaria as part of a security crackdown.
German authorities said the crackdown has been prompted by a sharp rise in the number of individuals carrying a range of weapons, including machetes, knives and arms including crossbows.
Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann told a press conference Monday that security checks, currently restricted to people going in and out of Munich’s famous Christmas market, would be extended to cafes, bars and businesses in the surrounding areas.
‘Turkey has nothing to do with the incident’
He said this was necessary in order to “protect public security.”
The decision follows a number of violent incidents in Munich, which had seen a surge in so-called “Turkish crime” after an Albanian was suspected of killing an Israeli student in October.
Israeli student Anamaria Karabayeva was stabbed multiple times in the neck and killed near Munich’s Zoo district, according to police.
Crowds of people gather in the Bavarian city of Munich for a candlelit vigil for the late Israeli tourist Anamaria Karabayeva. Her alleged attacker, an Albanian, was from the same country. A police investigation is ongoing. EPA/PAUL WIDOW
Herrmann was flanked by representatives from the Bavarian and Munich police during the press conference, where he addressed the events of the past month.
“We have a crime of a terrible dimension in the area of a tourist site,” he said. “However, because of the cooperation between police from Munich and Munich (police headquarters), and other units, the day was kept free of crimes.”
According to Herrmann, officers have intercepted and recovered three knives, two crossbows and a machete in the form of a cane.
“What’s more, in the past days, we have investigated more than 300 cases of people carrying similar objects in Munich,” he said.
At least two people were arrested in connection with the possible theft of food products from the Christmas market, the Interior Minister said.
Other steps, including the weapons checks, have also taken place at different Christmas markets across Germany.
Herrmann said a number of people had been investigated in connection with crimes in Munich and other cities.
“Two people, for example, come to Munich on business but no longer want to continue their contract,” he said. “They demand the money to leave but they have the appetite for criminal acts.”
Women in tears at Christmas market
About 500,000 people visited the Munich Christmas market over the weekend, Mayor Michael Mueller told CNN. He said the incident had caused many women to cry.
“We understand, nevertheless,” he said. “We take measures in this connection and police act according to the law to prevent events like these from happening in the future.”
Mueller said it was important to wait for the outcome of the investigation before attributing blame.
“It seems the motive was not anti-Semitic, it was rather the attempt to further assimilate each other,” he said.
Mueller said he was aware of the special meaning of the Christmas market to many people, including mothers with children.
“I expect strong support from the population for the police measures which are necessary and necessary in order to protect our public security,” he said.