German police have identified three suspects in connection with attacks on women at New Year celebrations in the town of Cologne, the interior minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said on Wednesday.
About 90 women reported being robbed, threatened or sexually molested at New Year celebrations outside the town ‘s cathedral by youthful, largely intoxicated, men, authorities said on Tuesday, in events they described as “a fresh dimension in offense”.
The police chief in Cologne has said the perpetrators appeared to be of “Arab or North African” origin, prompting right wing groups to condemn the government for its welcoming stance towards refugees.
Government officials have cautioned against placing foreigners and refugees under “blanket suspicion” because of the assaults.
Police said the assaults happened when to cease fireworks being thrown from the crowd beneath. top of steps into the was square by about 1,000 men carve into gangs as policemen cleared a
NRW Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger told a news conference. He declined to give additional details of the investigation but said he expected “a very thorough report” this week from the authorities.
Approximately 150 people gathered in front of Cologne’s cathedral on Tuesday to protest against violence against women. One of them held a sign saying: “Ms Merkel where are you? What do you say? This scares us!”
Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed shock at the attacks.