- 5 January 2016
- From the section Europe
It takes a nation to protect the nation
About 90 women have reported being robbed, threatened or sexually molested at New Year celebrations outside Cologne's cathedral by young, mostly drunk, men, police said on Tuesday, in events they have described as 'a new dimension in crime'.
Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers told a news conference officers described the men as looking as if they were from "the Arab or North African region" and mostly between 18 and 35 years old. "We have one complaint that represents a rape," he added.
Integration commissioner Aydan Ozoguz warned against putting foreigners and refugees, hundreds of thousands of whom have entered Germany largely from Middle Eastern war zones, under "blanket suspicion".
Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed shock over the attacks that police said occurred when about 1,000 men split into gangs as officers cleared a square to stop fireworks being thrown from the top of steps into the crowd below.
While politicians also urged people not to become wary of all refugees, the incident fueled calls from right-wing groups to stop letting in migrants.
Germany took in just over a million last year, far more than any other European country.
Cologne mayor Henriette Reker said it was "unbelievable and intolerable what happened on New Year's Eve" but there was no reason to believe those involved in the attacks were refugees.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas said Germany would not accept such attacks which he described as "a new scale of organized crime".
Around 150 people gathered in front of Cologne's cathedral on Tuesday evening to protest against violence against women. One of them held a sign saying: "Ms Merkel where are you? What do you say? This scares us!"
The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has gained in polls in part at Merkel's expense thanks to a campaign against refugees, said she should close the border.
"Mrs Merkel, is Germany 'colorful and cosmopolitan' enough for you after the wave of crimes and sexual attacks?" tweeted AfD chief Frauke Petry.
Merkel told Reker in a phone call the attacks deserved a tough response.
"Everything must be done to investigate those responsible as quickly and completely as possible and punish them, regardless of where they are from," she said, according to her spokesman.
There are almost daily attacks on refugee shelters.
"Events like that in Cologne foster xenophobia," said Roland Schaefer, head of Germany's association of towns and localities.
After a crisis meeting, Cologne mayor Reker said new steps would be taken to avoid a repeat, including increasing police numbers at big events and installing more security cameras.
She stressed that women must feel safe at traditional carnival celebrations next month when the city closes down for five days of drunken street parades and parties.
Reker was stabbed in the neck and seriously hurt in October, just a day before she was elected mayor. Police said that attack appeared to be motivated by her support for refugees.
(Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr and Matthias Sobolewski in Berlin and Andreas Kranz in Cologne; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has voiced outrage over the sexual assaults and thefts that male gangs inflicted on women in Cologne on New Year's Eve.
Women have made at least 90 criminal complaints to police about the harassment by gangs at Cologne's main railway station on Thursday night.
Germans have been shocked by the scale of the attacks, involving many groups of drunk and aggressive young men.
Witnesses and police said the men were of Arab or North African appearance.
Mrs Merkel called Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker on Tuesday and expressed her "outrage over these disgusting attacks and sexual assaults".
The chancellor said everything must be done "to find the perpetrators as quickly and comprehensively as possible and punish them, regardless of their origin or background".
Up to 300 women demonstrated against the violence near the scene of the attacks on Tuesday evening. One placard read: "Mrs Merkel! Where are you? What do you say? This alarms us!"
There is an intense debate in Germany about refugees and migrants, who arrived in record numbers last year. But Mayor Reker urged people not to jump to conclusions about the Cologne assailants.
"It's completely improper... to link a group that appeared to come from North Africa with the refugees," she said, after crisis talks with the police.
Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers called it "a completely new dimension of crime" and rejected criticism of his force's handling on the night.
Women were also targeted in Hamburg and Stuttgart in similar attacks, but on a smaller scale.
In Cologne at least one woman was raped and many were groped, including a volunteer policewoman.
One man described how his partner and 15-year-old daughter were surrounded by an enormous 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."
Most of the crimes reported to police were robberies.
A policeman told the city's Express news website that he had detained eight suspects. "They were all asylum seekers, carrying copies of their residence certificates," he said.
However, there was no official confirmation that asylum seekers had been involved in the violence. Germany' migrant influx triggered marches by the anti-Islam Pegida movement last year.
Police were deployed outside the station because of the crowds on New Year's Eve, but failed to spot the many attacks, according to reports.
The pretty Christmas market and medieval setting may look idyllic, but at Christmas and New Year the area around Cologne Cathedral is a notorious danger zone when it comes to pickpockets and theft.
Now the sexual harassment, and in one case rape, of dozens of women has shocked Germany.
What is particularly disturbing is that the attacks appear to have been organised. Around 1,000 young men arrived in large groups, seemingly with the specific intention of carrying out attacks on women.
Police in Hamburg are now reporting similar incidents on New Year's Eve in the party area of St Pauli. One politician says this is just the tip of the iceberg.
And there are real concerns about what will happen in February when the drunken street-parties of carnival season kick off.
Cologne will stage carnival events in February, with hundreds of thousands of revellers expected in the streets, as on New Year's Eve.
The police chief said "the assailants' behaviour is a real concern for me, also because of the carnival".
After the crisis meeting he said that in future more police would be deployed at big city events and extra surveillance cameras would be installed.
Mayor Reker promised preventive measures ahead of the carnival. The authorities would warn young women about possible risks and "give a better explanation to people from other cultures about the meaning of carnival", she said.
"We need to prevent confusion here, about what constitutes happy behaviour and what is utterly separate from openness, especially in sexual behaviour," she said.
She called the attacks "monstrous", saying "we cannot allow this to become a lawless area".
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."
Cologne news website Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger says the suspects were already known to police because of frequent pickpocketing in and around the central station.
Guardian, 7 January 2016
Telegraph, 7 January 2016
BBC, 7 January 2016
Brietbart critics fall silent ; http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/06/post-cologne-aggressive-...
In an interview with Die Welt newspaper, the respected criminologist Christian Pfeiffer described the men as “largely young, single men, who have arrived in this country and don’t know what to do with themselves.”
So now they are "refugees" (young single men, no families); Germany responsible for riots because inefficient Germans too slow to process them.
No matter what immigrants do, they're never responsible for their crimes.
Police said some of the assaults in Cologne appeared similar to incidents that have been reported over the past two years in Duesseldorf, 25 miles away, where gangs identified as North African have groped women to distract them before stealing their belongings.
So, Cologne2015 was not unique, was a known phenomenon. But, just like Cologne2015 was covered up just like Dusseldorf 2014 and Dusseldorf2013 were covered up.
Would Merkel have got away with her RefugeesWelcome if the German media hadn't been concealing these things?
Remember the video by the bouncer? He was saying (obviously to a cameraman who knew him and his political leanings): I always ignored any of these reports in the past, as fabrications of the far-right.
Govt minister asks how the police could say on Jan 1st that everything had gone peacefully the next day.
Don't be surprised when you encourage civil servants & the media to lie, and then they lie.
I don't think any of this would have been revealed without social media and Breitbart (other media had to catch up, not just for reputation, but because Breitbart is eating into their advertising -- what happens to advertising revenue when those 90% hostile commenters on The Telegraph just got to Breitbart for their news?)
Assault in every major German city ; http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/01/06/berlin-cologne-hamburg-s...
German report with pics ; http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/koeln-das-steht-im-internen-p...
Media cracks under weight ; http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=0dc_1451949721