‘New dimension’ of crime: Mayor of German city calls for emergency meeting after New Year’s Eve molestations

Cologne, Germany

After a delay of five days, leaders in the German city of Cologne held an emergency meeting of high-ranking security officials on Tuesday, following multiple reports of sexual assaults on women from a crowd described as between 500 to 1,000 “drunk and aggressive” and “foreign” men either working together as a single group or in separate gangs on New Year’s Eve.

In recently filed reports from journalists at the BBC, the Guardian and also Reuters news agencies, the Mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, called the emergency meeting of security officials.  Mayor Reker stated that her aim was to ensure her city center did not turn into a “lawless zone.”

Frankie McCamley, reporting for BBC, states that about 90 women say they were sexually assaulted during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne. “One woman described how a firecracker put in her hood has left her scarred for life.”

From Kate Connolly, working in Berlin for the Guardian, the report is that “[s]cores of women say they were sexually assaulted and mugged by groups of men largely of Arab and north African appearance.”

German police are investigating, and one minister is calling the assaults a “completely new dimension of crime,” while others believe this was looking like a “cover-up” because of the initial indications that, according to the police, “… those allegedly responsible for the sex attacks and numerous robberies were of Arab and north African origin.”

UPDATE:

Mayor Reker, who was stabbed in the neck last October is being mocked now for advising women on how to protect themselves from assaults, according to Ewan Palmer writing for the ibiTimes. “Mayor Henriette Reker suggested women should keep ‘an arm’s length away’ from men and to not stray from their own group when out at night in order to protect themselves from harassment following the mass assaults outside Cologne Cathedral….”

It is not clear if the Mayor’s suggestions would have helped any of the women being sexually assaulted on New Year’s Eve.