Germany's Oktoberfest opens in shadow of refugee crisis

Visitors to the Oktoberfest beer festival have the first beers after the festival's opening in Munich, southern Germany, on September 19, 2015Munich tapped the keg Saturday on the world’s biggest beer festival, Oktoberfest, with six million revellers expected just as the German city is grappling with a record refugee influx. The celebration of traditional Bavarian culture with its oompah music and beloved frothy beverage kicked off when Mayor Dieter Reiter opened the first beer barrel with two mallet blows and offered a toast to a “peaceful” Oktoberfest. While the mood in town in the run-up to the 16-day event remained undauntedly festive, Munich had to plan its huge annual party just as it became a flashpoint of Europe’s migrant crisis.

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