09:20 GMT +324 May 2017
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    Picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows people gathering in front of the main railway station in Cologne, western Germany

    ‘Cologne-Style’ Attacks on Women Reported in Austria, Switzerland

    © AFP 2017/ Markus Boehm / dpa
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    Several women were robbed and sexually harassed in Austria and Switzerland, on New Year's Eve, and there have been about many similar cases also reported in Hamburg and other German cities with the victims saying that they had been robbed, groped and molested by groups of “dark-skinned men,” an Austrian newspaper reported.

    The attacks in Salzburg and Zurich were reported within hours of similar assaults in Cologne where numerous criminal complaints have been filed about robbery and sexual abuse, including two reported rapes by perpetrators who allegedly staged orchestrated attacks on mainly female revelers in the crowds, Der Standard wrote on Thursday.

    Several cases of sexual assaults and robberies have been reported also in Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Munich and Frankfurt.

    Picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows people gathering in front of the main railway station in Cologne, western Germany
    © AFP 2017/ Markus BOEHM / dpa
    Picture taken on December 31, 2015 shows people gathering in front of the main railway station in Cologne, western Germany

    Cologne police said on Tuesday that ninety criminal incidents, many involving sexual assaults, were reported following New Year's Eve celebrations in the city.

    The victims described the attackers as gangs of intoxicated Arab or North African men between the ages of 15 and 35.

    Many of the assaults were apparently meant to distract, allowing attackers to snip wallets, cellphones and other devices. Those who tried to fight off the assailants were told in no uncertain terms to get back or face the consequences.

    Media reports said that the attacks appeared to have been organized as around 1,000 young men arrived in large groups, seemingly with the specific intention of carrying out attacks on women.

    On Thursday Cologne police said that most of the suspects in the New Year’s Eve attacks had entered the country only recently and had applied for refugee status. Many of them are migrants from Syria and North Africa.

    A German ex-policeman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Cologne-style attacks on women are common and routinely hushed up by the authorities.

    Related:

    Cologne Police Strengthened Overnight After New Year's Eve Assaults
    Wary Tourists Stay Away From Cologne Following New Year Eve Assaults
    Tags:
    Cologne-style attacks, sexual assaults, complaints, robberies, Western Europe
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