German Refugee violence : Cologne sex attacks: Germany's De Maizierecriticises police

Female residents of Cologne speak out over the New Year's Eve assaults

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has strongly criticised police handling of gang sex attacks on women and girls in Cologne on New Year's Eve.
"The police shouldn't work like this," he said, as it emerged only a handful of people had been arrested.
More than 100 victims have complained of being attacked by gangs of up to 30 men outside Cologne station.
Witnesses and police said that the men involved were of Arab or North African appearance.
A crowd of around 1,000 men had gathered in the square outside the station during New Year's Eve letting off fireworks. Many were drunk and aggressive.
Police eventually evacuated the area because of the risk of injury from the fireworks.
But gangs of youths soon returned and carried out dozens of attacks over a number of hours with little apparent response from the local authorities until well after midnight.

'Disgusting attacks'

At least one woman in Cologne was reportedly raped and many were groped, including a volunteer policewoman. Justice Minister Heiko Maas suggested the entire incident "appears to have been co-ordinated".

Police were in evidence at Cologne station checking suspects on Tuesday night (5 Jan)EPA
Police were in evidence at Cologne station checking suspects on Tuesday night

Women were also targeted in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Duesseldorf, but on a smaller scale.
Hundreds of people protested near Cologne station on Tuesday night, angered by the brazen attacks and by the slow response of political leaders.
Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed outrage over the "disgusting attacks" and the interior minister was asked about the police response on national TV.
Mr de Maiziere criticised police for allowing the attackers to return. It should not be the case that the square was evacuated, he said, "and then later these events take place and they wait for complaints. The police shouldn't work like this."
The widespread identification of the attackers as North African or Arab in appearance has also caused considerable alarm because of the influx of more than one million migrants and refugees in the past year. Many have fled the conflict in Syria.

Cologne's night of violence

One man described how his partner and 15-year-old daughter were surrounded by a crowd outside the station and he was unable to help.
"The attackers grabbed her and my partner's breasts and groped them between their legs."

One woman described how a firecracker put in her hood has left her scarred for life

Another woman was robbed of her mobile phone at the station entrance after midnight and went to police to report it. "There were lots of girls, all crying uncontrollably."
A British woman visiting Cologne said fireworks had been thrown at her group by men who spoke neither German nor English. "They were trying to hug us, kiss us. One man stole my friend's bag," she told the BBC.
"Another tried to get us into his 'private taxi'. I've been in scary and even life-threatening situations and I've never experienced anything like that."

The "anti-Islamisation" Pegida movement and the right-wing AfD said the attacks were a consequence of large-scale migration. AfD leader Frauke Petry asked if, after the sex attacks, Germany was now sufficiently "diverse and cosmopolitan".
Mr de Maiziere emphasised there should not be any general suspicion towards refugees, at least "at this stage of the investigation".
"But if North Africans were the perpetrators, for which there is some indication, there should not be a taboo and people should not gloss over it."

Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker addresses reporters. 5 Jan 2016AFP
Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker was mocked on social media for her advice to young women

Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker had earlier said it was "completely improper" to link the attackers "who appeared to come from North Africa" with refugees.
But she was herself mocked for urging young women and girls to adopt a code of conduct that meant keeping an "arm's length" distance from strangers and sticking to a group of people.

'New dimension'

Police were pictured stopping and questioning men near Cologne's central station on Tuesday.
However, the city's police chief, Wolfgang Albers, said there were no suspects in relation to the attacks "so we don't know who the perpetrators were.

Women protest against sexism outside the cathedral in Cologne, GermanyEPA
Up to 300 people, mostly women, demonstrated outside the station on Tuesday

"All we know is that the police at the scene perceived that it was mostly young men aged 18 to 35 from the Arab or North African region."
He called it "a completely new dimension of crime" and rejected criticism of his force's handling on the night.
Cologne authorities are particularly concerned that the attacks may ruin the city's reputation ahead of its February carnival, when hundreds of thousands of revellers are expected on the streets.



Unknown said…
The obvious conclusion is that if the asylum seekers/economic migrants had not been allowed to enter Germany, this could not have happened - many genuine refugees would face death as a result of closing the borders, but would any of you pacifists be happy for your sister or mother to be sexually assaulted by these ungrateful immigrants......... thought not.

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