Around 400 people, mainly women, gathered in Cologne on Tuesday evening to demonstrate against violence against women following a wave of assaults a few days ago.
The peaceful demonstration started on the square in front of Cologne Cathedral and culminated with protesters walking through the city’s main train station, where dozens of women were sexually assaulted and some robbed on New Year’s Eve.
Women shout slogans and hold up a placard at demonstration in Cologne. Photo: Reuters
German leaders expressed shock over dozens the assaults blamed on “Arab-looking men,” but warned against anti-migrant scapegoating.
Chancellor Angela Merkel called for a thorough investigation of the “repugnant” attacks, ranging from groping to at least one reported rape, allegedly committed in a large crowd of revellers during year-end festivities outside the city’s main train station and its famed Gothic cathedral.
Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said she had called Cologne’s mayor, Henriette Reker, to express her “outrage” over the violence, which she said required “a tough response from the state”.
“Everything must be done to find as many of the perpetrators as possible as quickly as possible and bring them to justice, regardless of their origin or background,” Seibert quoted Merkel as saying.