Cologne in Germany has witnessed a series of sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve. The incidents have been condemned and there is a public outburst of anger and disbelief.
According to BBC, more than 100 women complained of sexual assault at the hands of gangs in the square outside Cologne’s main railway station. Although, politicians condemned the assaults, the city authorities were highly criticised for their slow response. The incidents also triggered debate on the country’s refugee policy.
City Police Chief Wolfgang Albers said that the assailants’ appearance were of Arabs and North Africans. He called the whole incident, as a totally “new dimension of crime”. However, it is still not confirmed whether the men were asylum seekers or second generation immigrants.
BBC also stated that the mayor was accused of initial cover up. His advice to young women, following the attack was also highly criticized.
The mayor advised women to stay “an arm’s length” away from strangers, which raised many eyebrows. People took to the social media under the hashtag #EineArmlaenge to show their disapproval of Mayor Henriette Reker’s advices.
Police believed that most of these assaults were intended to distract the victims so that the attackers could steal their mobile phones and other valuables, reported CNN.
The report also said that three suspects were identified and questioned regarding the assaults. It was said that Police were using the cell phone footages from the evening to identify more people involved.
Residents in Cologne informed that the area around Cologne Cathedral is very unsafe. There were many incidents of theft and pickpockets. During the New Year’s Eve a huge number of people have gathered in the area.
However the incidents are not just confined in Cologne, police in Hamburg were also reporting similar incidents in St. Pauli on the New Year’s Eve.
The victims, meanwhile, are still in shock but have started to talk about their nightmarish experiences in different media platforms.