Numerous “asylum seekers” from Syria and Afghanistan have been arrested in Berlin and Cologne following renewed sex attacks in those cities over the New Year celebrations, German police have confirmed.
A massive police presence and preventative measures prevented the mass sex attacks of the previous few years, but at least seven of the fake refugees were arrested in Berlin, Die Welt newspaper reported.
The incidents took place during a New Year’s Eve festival at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate area, which drew hundreds of thousands of spectators, according to the event’s organizers.
“Cases of sexual assaults were unfortunately reported during “Welcome2018” events in Berlin. We do not tolerate such acts. Suspects were arrested,” Berlin police tweeted on Monday morning.
In most cases, women were “groped between their legs or their buttocks,” Thomas Neuendorf from the Berlin police press office told the TV service Ruptly, confirming that the “suspects were predominantly young men from Syria or Afghanistan.”
In Cologne, nine women claimed to have been touched inappropriately during the celebrations, a police spokesman said on Monday, adding that three suspects were identified and arrested.
Police in Hamburg stated that they received “a very small number” of reports of sexual assaults during New Year’s Eve celebrations. Munich police have yet to assess the situation. “Experience shows that such a thing [sexual assault] often emerges only one or two days later,” a Munich police spokesman said.
In an attempt to curb the sex attacks, “safety areas” for women were introduced in Berlin this year. Women subjected to sexual offences or who otherwise felt harassed during the celebrations were able to seek shelter in tents set up by the German Red Cross and report potential crimes there.