This headline from AFP isn’t that surprising, sadly: “New Year’s sex assaults stoke German migrant debate.”
German leaders expressed shock over dozens of apparently coordinated sexual assaults against women on New Year’s Eve in the western city of Cologne blamed on “Arab-looking men,” but warned against anti-migrant scapegoating.
Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a thorough investigation of the “repugnant” attacks, ranging from groping to at least one reported rape, allegedly committed in a large crowd of revellers during year-end festivities outside the city’s main train station and its famed Gothic cathedral.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said she had called Cologne’s mayor, Henriette Reker, to express her “outrage” over the violence, which she said required “a tough response from the state”.
“Everything must be done to find as many of the perpetrators as possible as quickly as possible and bring them to justice, regardless of their origin or background,” Seibert quoted Merkel as saying.
Police in Cologne said they had received 90 criminal complaints by Tuesday and quoted witnesses as saying that groups of 20-30 young men “who appeared to be of Arab or North African origin” had surrounded victims, assaulted them and in several cases robbed them.
Germany took in around one million asylum seekers in 2015, many of them fleeing war-ravaged Syria.
A plain-clothes policewoman was reportedly among those attacked.
“We assume more people will come forward,” police chief Wolfgang Albers told reporters.
The northern port city of Hamburg also reported around 10 similar attacks.
On Tuesday evening 200-300 people, according to police estimates, gathered in front of Cologne cathedral calling for more respect for women.
One female demonstrator held a sign reading: “Mrs. Merkel, what are you doing? This is scary”.
The Interior Minister “lashed out” at the Cologne police because they did not stop the assaults. But the police did not set irresponsible immigration policy.
Maybe the police could have done more, but shouldn’t politicians consider law enforcement resources and limitations when considering immigration policy? Germans are already outraged that the police and the media tend to cover up immigrant crime. This is only going to make the people distrust their government more.