More women come forward alleging sexual assaults in Cologne
More women came forward Wednesday alleging they were sexually assaulted and robbed during New Year’s Eve celebrations in the German city of Cologne, as police faced mounting criticism for their handling of the incident.
At least 106 criminal complaints have been filed since last week, Cologne police spokesman Christoph Gilles said. The figure has increased from 90 since Tuesday.
“At least three quarters have a sexual component. In two cases we are investigating crimes that amount to rape,” Gilles told The Associated Press.
About 1,000 men described by police as being of “Arab or North African origin” gathered around Cologne’s main station, next to the city’s famous cathedral, on the night from Thursday to Friday.
Smaller groups then surrounded individual women, harassed them and stole their belongings.
Police initially failed to mention the assaults in report the following morning, describing the festivities as “largely peaceful.”
Details of the attacks only emerged over the weekend and calls have grown for a comprehensive review of police actions on the night, after some witnesses claimed that officers didn’t stop the attackers.
Gilles said police were well prepared on the night, but “surprised” by the scale and aggression of the attacks.
Mayor Henriette Reker said she expected police to analyze what went wrong and “draw consequences from that.”
She didn’t elaborate on what that would entail.
Police chief Wolfgang Albers has shrugged off questions about his own future, saying that he will stay in his post, though he acknowledged that the initial failure to mention the assaults was a mistake.