A female journalist was groped while presenting a live report at the Cologne carnival.
Esmerelda Labye, a reporter for the Belgian station RTBF, was doing a piece to camera when a man reached over and grabbed her breast in the middle of a live broadcast.
She has written an article where she condemns the “wretched and cowardly men” who assaulted her and warns it is increasingly difficult for female journalists to report the news without being harassed.
In the article posted on RTBF online, she wrote: “As I started the broadcast, two or three man gathered behind me and tried to make themselves the centre of attention,” she wrote.
“I didn’t see them as I was focusing on the broadcast. Then I felt a kiss on my neck…almost immediatley after I heard someone saying ‘do you want to sleep with me’ and some hands on my shoulders.
“I noticed the person behind me was making an obscene gesture.”
Ms Labye tried to continue the broadcast, but things escalated.
“In practice we always stay looking at the camera for a few seconds so that the presenter in the studio has time to thank us and continue their broadcast.
“It was at that exact moment that one of the men leaned over and touched my breast. At that moment I lost my temper and, knowing we were no longer live, I turned around and warned him, do not touch me again.
“They didn’t seem to understand why I was angry but they left without saying a word.”
After finishing work on the story, she and her cameraman reported the incident to the police and received a apology from the city shortly after.
“We must do our work, it is our duty to keep people informed,” she continued, “but it is increasingly difficult to do so due to the intervention of these agitators.
“That evening those men wanted to be comedians, but instead they became wretched and cowardly aggressors.”
“I feel that we are increasingly the targets of these types of men because we are in front of a camera.
It comes amid heightened tensions at the German carnival, where security has been tightened up after a spate of sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve.
But Jean Pierre Jacqmin, the director of RTBF, told the Telegraph he did not believe the incident was linked to the New Years Eve sexual assaults.
“I don’t have that impression at all at this time, but I can confirm to you that this happened and that we reported it to the police,” he said.
“We are not going to broadcast the footage of what happened because it is degrading to the journalist in question.
“It was two or three men who were making obscene gestures behind the journalist, and one of them then did something completely inappropriate.”
He said the station had decided not to publish the video online because it would be degrading to his staff.
Instead they posted two still images on the radio station’s website which show the moment of the attack.
The assault took place at around 1.30pm – and according to Der Express a further five sexual assaults have also been reported to police.
More than 2,000 uniformed police are patrolling the streets at the carnival in the hopes of cracking down on the sex crimes.