More than a thousand men mostly young drunk men reportedly of Arab or North African appearance stormed Germany on 31 Dec and sexually assaulted, robbed and attacked about 80 women, and allegedly committed at least one rape near the cathedral. Similar incidents were reported in Stuttggart and Hamburg.
The attack happened close to Cologne cathedral, the same spot where lights were turned off in solidarity with migrants, after a rally by the Right-wing Pegida organisation.
What is particularly heartbreaking is that the attacks appear to have been planned. At least 1,000 young men arrived in groups, with the intention of carrying out massive attacks on women.
Fr Gerd Bachner,the provost of Cologne Cathedral has urged the faithful not to “jump to conclusions” after hundreds of youths rampaged through the city on New Year’s Eve.
In a statement yesterday Fr Gerd Bachner said: “The news of the violence on New Year’s Eve in front of the Cologne Central Station, in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral, has shocked me. I am concerned that people who wanted to celebrate the beginning of the New Year in our peaceful town were attacked in this way.
“It is clear that such incidents are unacceptable and I am glad that Mayor Henriette Reker immediately convened a crisis summit with the police and other leaders of the city. We must now act prudently and it is especially important to carefully investigate the incidents and not jump to conclusions. On this basis, I am confident that the city, together with the police, will take appropriate measures to ensure that such a thing does not happen again” he added.
Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker, who last January turned off the bridge lights in support for migrants, yesterday said the attacks were ‘Monstrous’ and that women should adopt a “code of conduct” to avoid being assaulted. She said the code was designed ” so that such things do not happen to them.