A group of up to 1,000 men of “Arab background” sexually assaulted dozens of women New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany, according to police. The assaults, however, were not confirmed for days, leading to public accusations of a cover-up.
Cologne Police Chief Wolfgang Albers confirmed Monday as many as 60 reports were filed by women sexually assaulted by a large mob of “Arab or North African men” during celebrations in Cologne New Year’s Eve. Albers stated the claims were in fact true.
“There was a very large number of sexual assaults there – and in a massive way. Women were grabbed and attacked,” said Albers during a press conference Monday.”The crimes were committed by a group of people who, from appearance, were largely from the north African or Arab world.”
As many as 80 women were assaulted and robbed by the mob, according to police reports. Some women reported being encircled by large groups of men who had “fingers on every orifice.” One report claimed a woman was raped.
The several day delay of confirmation of the attacks from officials roused suspicions of a cover-up. Anabel Schunke wrote on Huffington Post’s German language site Monday accusing police officials and public media outlets of covering up the issue entirely. Read More
From The Local
Around 60 complaints have been made to the police in Cologne after a group of around 1,000 men attacked revellers in the city centre in a brutal and “completely unheard of” way, Wolfgang Albers, Chief of Police in the Rhineland city said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Around a third of the complaints were of sexual assault, regional paper Express reported.
“There was a very large number of sexual assaults there – and in a massive way. Women were grabbed and attacked,” said Albers, adding that in one case the alleged crime fitted the legal definition of rape.
“The crimes were committed by a group of people who from appearance were largely from the north African or Arab world,” the police chief added.
But the police have also insisted that many of the men had been known to them for some time and that they were not a group of newly-arrived refugees.
A group of around 500 men between the ages of 15 and 35 assembled at the central train station and in the area of the cathedral before throwing firecrackers into the masses of people celebrating the arrival of the new year.
This appears to have been a means of causing distraction, as during the disturbance groups of young men entered the crowd where they sexually assaulted women and pick-pocketed revellers.
Police then carried out a large-scale operation to clear the area of the miscreants, involving 143 local police officers and a further 70 federal officers. But due to the darkness and the sheer scale of people, Albers conceded that this operation was less than effective.
On Sunday police arrested five men at the central station who were accused of threatening and robbing female travellers. It is not yet clear whether these men are connected to the earlier crimes.
Cologne mayor Henriette Reker called for a crisis meeting to be held on Tuesday in the wake of the attacks, reports the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
“We can’t let it happen that an area beyond the law develops here,” she said.
Accusations of cover-up
As the extent of the crimes emerged on Monday, the story became the central theme of Twitter with #Köln and #aufschrei (outcry) both ranking in the top five hashtags. Read More