Despite Increased Police Numbers, Assaults Occur in Cologne Festival

Posted by on Feb 10, 2016 in Festival Events | Comments Off on Despite Increased Police Numbers, Assaults Occur in Cologne Festival

cologne festival photo

 

Despite having more than 2,000 policemen from all over Germany, the Cologne festival that started on 8th Feb 2016 still experienced attacks – 22 sexual assaults were reported on the first day of the three day festival. There have been tensions in the city since more than 100 women reported that they were assaulted on New Year’s Eve as they came into the city to enjoy the night’s festivities. According to victims, the attackers appeared to be migrants of North African descent.

Germany has welcomed more migrants than other countries in Europe and the attitude towards them has generally been a tolerant one. Many Germans were happy to help the migrants who arrived in late 2015 in any way they could – they contributed to charities, offered food and clothing and some even opened up their homes to newly arriving migrants who had no place else to go. There are some cities in the country that are skeptical about the large numbers but Cologne was one of the ones that welcomed the migrants with open arms.

That, however, changed after the New Year attacks. Many women are now afraid to go out in the dark and some even feel that they have to change the way they dress because of the comments that the migrants gave during the assaults. According to one of the victims who did not want to be named, “They were feeling me with their hands all over my body and asking if I liked it. They said they were attracted by my short skirt and if I did not want to be assaulted I should have dressed appropriately.”

It is reports like these that have prompted many to question whether the newly arrived migrants are assimilating and whether they are ready to accept German culture. Most migrants into Europe come from Islamic countries where women are treated very differently. For one, they have to wear full length clothing in order to cover themselves. There are many other cultural differences that might prove to be difficult to deal with in the future.

 

Cologne Festival

Police numbers were beefed up for the Cologne festival to prevent such attacks but it seems some were not to be deterred from criminal behavior. Attacks still occurred but in much smaller numbers. Police will continue to enforce the law on the carnival grounds but attendees have also been asked to be vigilant and to report any suspicious behavior. There are several spots set up on the grounds for women who feel particularly vulnerable – if a woman feels that an attack is imminent she should immediately go to the center closest to her.

Festival numbers were also affected, with fewer people attending than in the past.  It is easy to understand why when you consider what some of the festivities are every year. Women cut men’s ties into half and give them a kiss on the cheek. Most people are also dressed up in costumes and may be hard to identify, which made many women stay away from the festival this year.