00:24 GMT +322 February 2018
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    Refugees wait on a bridge after police stopped them at the border between Austria and Germany in Salzburg, Austria, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015.

    Migrants' Hooliganism in Popular Austrian Resort Raises Security Concerns

    © AP Photo/ Kerstin Joensson
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    The beautiful and romantic Austrian resort of Bad Ischl is a popular place among tourists to spend their winter and summer vacations. The fashionable resort, however, became subject to media attention due to recent sexual harassment cases involving refugees.

    A local bar in Bad Ischl named "Charly's" was the first to attract media attention after it had banned asylum seekers from entry amid increased sexual harassment against female guests.

    According to the bar owner Karin Siebrecht-Janisch, migrants bothered not only her female visitors, but also harassed her staff.

    There are about 14 thousand inhabitants currently living in Bad Ischl, with 120 refugees also residing in the area. In general, local residents have nothing against refugees but complicated situations like in Charly's started to raise security concerns among the local population.

    The owner of a guest house, Edith B., told Sputnik that such incidents involving migrants might be connected with their traditions or culture, in which they have a rather "dismissive attitude toward women". Another local entrepreneur, Alois B., believes that the open-door policy of Angela Merkel resulted in a situation in which the country accepts not only those who really need help, assuming that stricter border controls could help to resolve the situation.

    According to a member of the City Council of Social Affairs and Integration, Ines Schiller, many young refugees are unhappy over the long processing procedures of asylum applications.

    "Generally, people of their age are working or studying full-time, but here they are unable to do that," Schiller told Sputnik. "Processing terms can be different. We have had cases where they got appointment after three weeks. But, there have also been cases when they waited up to a year until the processing started."

    The mayor of Bad Ischl, Hannes Heide, is informed about the negative sentiment and security concerns prevailing in the town, but calls on the residents to avoid dramatizing the situation.

    "Of course, residents are discussing the problems caused by the influx of refugees. There are fears and concerns. And certain sentiments fall on a fertile ground," the official said.

    Related:

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    No More Refugees? Austria Calls for Germany to End Its ‘Culture of Welcome'
    Austria Hit With Financial Burden of Hosting Refugees Turned Back by Berlin
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