07 January 2016

Tensions rise in Germany over handling of mass sexual assaults in Cologne

A ferocious debate has erupted in Germany over the handling of mass sexual assaults and muggings carried out by groups of young males during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne, amid accusations of a police and media cover-up over fears of whipping up anti-foreigner sentiment in the wake of the migrant crisis.

About 100 complaints have now been made to police, two-thirds of which are linked to sexual assault, including two rapes. According to police and witnesses, the perpetrators were of north African and Arab appearance, although neither the identity nor origin of any of them has so far been established.

The incidents have highlighted the tensions that have been bubbling in German society in the wake of Angela Merkel’s controversial open-door policy towards refugees, which has seen more than 1 million people arrive in the past 12 months, with thousands more coming every day. [The Guardian] Read more