Austria reports rise in crime after Germany begins rejecting one in ten migrants at the border… turning some areas into ‘no-go’ zones for women
- 300 migrants a day turned away at the popular crossing point of Scharding
- Many are drifting to other parts of country like the nearby Linz train station
- One teenage girl says she is ‘terrified’ of using the station in the evenings
- Passengers ask officials to chaperone them onto trains amid fear of attacks
Austria has reported a spike in crime after Germany began turning away hundreds of asylum seekers from its border.
Some areas have been described as no-go zones, especially for women, with one teenage girl saying she was now ‘terrified’ to leave the house.
Passengers are also asking officials to accompany them onto platforms at one major train station because they fear being attacked.
According to the latest reports, one in 10 of those trying to reach Germany are being sent back and are now stranded in Austria.
In the northern Austrian town of Scharding, a popular crossing point, officials said 300 people a day were being rejected.
Many of these are drifting to other parts of the country like the nearby Linz train station, where police reportedly said many of those causing trouble have come from Morocco.
Local media reports that the area has become an almost no-go area.
One father has written an open letter to the regional governor Josef Puehringer and to police saying his 16-year-old daughter is scared to go out alone.
In the letter, which has gone viral, he wrote: ‘My daughter is 16 and is terrified when she has to come through Linz train station in the evening.
‘As a result, we have now arranged a travel group with other parents.
‘My wife and I went to see it for ourselves. We travelled the same route that our daughter did and we found out that it was even worse than she described.
‘There was not a policeman in sight and in a country like Austria it cannot be the case that our children are scared going to and from work.’
Migrants wait to be registered at a the reception centre at the Austrian-Slovenian border crossing in Spielfeld.
Austrian train service security spokesman Joachim Zandl said: ‘Especially with late trains, there are increasingly passengers that ask us to accompany them on the platforms because they are afraid.’
It comes after Berlin approved a series of measures aimed at making Germany less attractive, particularly to economic migrants.
The move includes classifying Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria as ‘safe’ origin countries – a category which means their citizens would not usually gain asylum.
Instead they are being sent back to the places where they crossed.
Those being turned back at the border also include those who have tried to get into Germany with stolen or fake passports.
The German U-turn is a major embarrassment for Austrian Chancellor Werner Feyman who insisted in October that it would not be a problem.
In the northern town of Scharding, a popular crossing point, officials said 300 people a day were being rejected by German officials, with many drifting to other parts of the country like the nearby Linz train station.
He told local media: ‘The captain has the ship under control. Angela Merkel keeps her word.’
Austria has largely served as a corridor into neighbouring Germany for the hundreds of thousands of people, many of them Syrian refugees, who have streamed into its territory since the two countries threw open their borders to them in September.
It has, however, taken in a similar number of asylum seekers to Germany in proportion to its far smaller population, and the coalition government has said it will not be able to cope if the influx continues unabated.
With European measures to address the continent’s migration crisis facing mounting delays and public support for the far right having risen, Vienna is turning to a ‘Plan B’ aimed at stemming the flow of people without going through Brussels.
It has already said it will limit asylum applications to less than half last year’s total, and last week Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz told Macedonia to be ready to ‘completely stop’ the flow of migrants across its southern border, adding that Austria would soon reach its ‘maximum’ intake.