German Police is accused of racism after it had sent an address to the hotels in Leipzig last weekend asking them to announce if they have Romanian guests. The move came amid preparations for the heavy metal Highfield Festival, held annually near Leipzig.
The German Police explains in the address to the hotels that its request is motivated by the fact that pickpockets from Romania used to act in the area at the festival’s previous editions. According to MDR.de, 20 members of a pickpocket gang were arrested during the festival in 2016.
Saxony Police retorted that the request sent to the hotels is perfectly legal, just having the goal to prevent potential crimes.
In a Twitter post, the police explained that its action is legal, falling under the Saxon Police Law: “According to the legal terms, the Police can adopt the necessary actions to avoid safety and public order issues”.
The spokesperson of the Leipzig Police, Andreas Loepki said a group of criminals had been identified and that they were to commit offenses during the festival.
Der Sächsische Datenschutzbeauftragte, the personal data watchdog in Saxony, also argued that the Police had acted legally in order to prevent risks, while the hotels are not compelled to provide their customers’ personal data.
However, some German politicians and NGOs accused the German policemen of racism. Romanian Minister for Diaspora has also taken stand, arguing the German Police’s move is “discriminating and unacceptable.”
German MP Juliane Nagel has reacted on Twitter: “Once again, the Police’s shady methods… the daily fascism arrives under the guise of an official, literately worded letter”.
In her turn, Romanian Minister for Diaspora, Natalia Intotero, says she has found out with concern about the Leipzig Police’s address, arguing it is unacceptable that Romanians are subdued to “such a form of discrimination”, which “can look very bad on all of us, as a nation”.
Minister Intotero points out that over 850,000 Romanians are living in Germany, representing the fifth minority in this country.
“Romanians are well integrated and bring more value to the host country. We are closely watching this concerning situation, maintaining the relation with the Foreign Ministry and with the Romanian diplomatic mission to Berlin, where our ambassador is already taking actions upon the authorities in Leipzig,” said the minister.
She added that Romanians are European citizens and have equal rights to the citizens in other member states.