Police in Germany say they’re investigating whether a string of sexual assaults and thefts during New Year’s celebrations in Cologne is linked to a known criminal network in the nearby city of Duesseldorf.
The assaults last week have prompted outrage in Germany and a fresh debate about immigration, after police said the perpetrators appeared to be of “Arab or North African origin.”.
Police said today that about 1,000 men gathered outside the Cologne train station and that smaller groups surrounded individual women, harassed them and stole their belongings.
Police do not believe all 1,000 men were involved in the attacks, though they have not said how many were.
About 90 people filed criminal complaints, though police have not said how many of them were women who were sexually assaulted. At least one woman said she was raped.
Police say some of the assaults appeared similar to incidents that have been reported over the past two years in Duesseldorf, where suspects believed to be of North African origin have groped women to distract them before stealing their belongings.