Germany has been rocked by the mass assaults of women during New Year’s eve celebrations. So far, 120 women have reported being sexually assaulted and robbed, with two cases of rape. Up to 1,000 men of “Arab or North African” descent are said to have committed the apparently coordinated attacks outside the Cologne Central Station. Police have only been able to identify 16 suspects.
More fuel has been added to the fire as it seemed the media was trying to cover up the attacks, with no reports been aired for days. Perhaps to ease any anti-immigrant sentiment it may cause since Germany has let in over 1 million refugees over the past 12 months, with thousands still arriving daily.
Sad, worried and rather angry that the #Cologne attacks on women did not make it to the front pages of UK Newspaper!
— Magali (@MAntheaume) January 6, 2016
Women’s groups protested outside the station where the attacks occurred holding signs saying: “Mrs Merkel: Where are you? What do you say? This worries us!”
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who resisted pressure to cap the number of refugees let in, has called the attacks “completely unacceptable.”
“The feeling women had in this case, of being at people’s mercy without any protection, is intolerable for me personally as well,” Mekel said. “There are some very serious questions which arise from what has happened which have relevance beyond Cologne,” reported ABC.
Germany’s justice minister, Heiko Maas, said that during asylum proceedings the law allows for people to be deported if they are sentenced to over a year in prison, according to The Guardian.
“The courts will have to decide on the level of sentences, but that penalty is in principle absolutely possible for sexual offences,” Maas said, reports The Guardian.
Watch this VOA News report on the attacks:
On the night of the attacks, eyewitnesses said fireworks were thrown into the crowd of people outside the station celebrating the New Year. Then groups of 20 – 30 men, thought to be intoxicated, began to form circles around females alone, or even with their partners, and sexually harass them and steal their belongings.
One eyewitness told the Express, a Cologne local news paper:
“It was around a thousand of men. They just began throwing fireworks into the crowd, and when my girlfriend and I went to run for cover they blocked our way. We were so frightened! We just fled from the Station’s courtyard.”
Similar attacks occurred on a smaller scale in Hamburg, Finland, and Switzerland with the police in Finland saying they were tipped off about plans by groups of asylum seekers to sexually harass women in the capital Helsinki.
Head of the police trade union DPoIG, Rainer Wendt, warns the men involved in the attacks will strike again because they most likely will never get caught.
The Guardian reported: “It is highly uncertain whether, in the case of the attacks in Cologne, we will see even a single prosecution,” he told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper, citing a lack of police resources. He said that if perpetrators were not caught “they will feel completely encouraged to strike again in the shadow of their anonymity.”
Police president, Wolfgang Albers, at a press conference said:
“Especially because Carnaval is coming up soon, we need to consider setting up temporary video surveillance, better means for people to report encroachments, and prohibit access of certain areas for known criminal offenders.”
Cologne’s senior mayor, Henriette Reker, is concerned how these attacks could impact tourists impression of Cologne, telling Rundschau: “The incidents are outrageous. Visitors to Cologne should not have to fear any type of assault.”
In this RT news report Reker suggests a code of conduct for women saying they should stay in groups and at an arms length from men:
Researched by Hermann Rohr