New York - Germany’s New Year’s Eve celebrations were stained by nearly 170 criminal complaints of sexual assault and robberies in several German cities. Eight out of the 31 identified assailants are Moroccan nationals.
New York – Germany’s New Year’s Eve celebrations were stained by nearly 170 criminal complaints of sexual assault and robberies in several German cities. Eight out of the 31 identified assailants are Moroccan nationals.
A week after investigations began in search for the suspects, German authorities have identified 31 people, including 18 refugees involved in the attacks in the city of Cologne, in western Germany, 80 kilometers from Belgium.
After searching through nearly 350 hours of video footage for the assailants, investigators have identified nine Algerians, eight Moroccans, five Iranians, four Syrians, two Germans, one Serbian, one Iraqi, and one American, according to German Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate.
According to a report by CNN Berlin, a large number of sexual assaults and muggings shook several European cities on New Year’s Eve, yet Cologne suffered the most attacks.
Several victims have come forward to relate the unfortunate events to which they were subjected on that night of celebration that ended in criminality all across the city.
One of the victims told CNN, “We ran to the police. But we saw the police were so understaffed. They couldn’t take care of us and we as women suffered the price.”
Cologne Police Spokeswoman Christoph Gilles said on Friday that at least 120 out of the 170 filed reports were of a sexual nature.
A police spokesman confirmed Police Chief Wolfgang Albers was fired Friday morning for his reported lack of control of “his department’s handling of the violence.”
According to the same source, other German cities suffered attacks such as Hamburg, in northern Germany, which reported 50 assaults, and Stuttgart.
Justice German Minister Maas said on Thursday that any refugee convicted of a crime could be deported.
“The law allows for people to be deported during asylum proceedings if they’re sentenced to a year or more in prison, and that’s possible with sexual offenses,” Minister Maas said.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been criticized for her openness to welcome nearly 800,000 refugees from Syria and Iraq into the country in 2015.
The assaults on New Year’s Eve have fueled anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim protests in Europe, especially in Germany.
According to the same source, Chancellor Merkel condemned the attacks on December 31 as “intolerable” and said her government will “send a clear sign” to those who choose to disrespect German laws.
Yet, she remained open to the possibility that these attacks are part of a larger society problem beyond migrants.
“I don’t think these are single cases,” Merkel said, adding that “People have a right, and we as a state … have the obligation to give the right answers to this.”
Moreover, In Zurich, Switzerland, six women denounced they were “robbed from one side, [while] being groped … on the other side” men described as “having dark skin”, according to a Zurich Police statement released on Friday.
In Helsinki, Finland, police are investigating two reported harassment attacks in “a gathering of asylum-seekers.”