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September 15, 2015

With Munich's Oktoberfest set to kick off this weekend, city authorities are expressing concern as to how the city will cope with expected 6 million visitors in addition to the thousands of refugees.

Oktoberfest Polizisten
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Gebert

Munich’s police force is ready for Oktoberfest 2015. Five-hundred police officers will be on hand to provide security and ensure order in and around the festival area, it was announced at a press conference in Munich on Tuesday. "We are taking all the necessary precautions, just as we do every year," said the city’s administrator chief Wilfried Blume-Beyerle. "Reports of a crisis situation are simply false.”

Just the same, the fact that revelers and refugees will be arriving at Munich Central Station simultaneously poses a challenge. As many as 40,000 refugees arrived in the Bavarian capital over the past two weekends. Blume-Beyerle said that during Oktoberfest, the two groups will be directed out of the station separately, the refugees to the north, the Oktoberfest visitors to the south.

But now that border controls have been reintroduced and trains carrying refugees are being rerouted past Munich, authorities do not expect welcome the same numbers as in recent weeks. “But if it turns out that way, we’ll manage," said Senior Police Director Werner Feiler.

The 182nd Oktoberfest starts on Saturday and the city expects to see roughly six million visitors before it ends on October 4.