Police in Cologne are being strongly condemned for the way they dealt with the mass New Year sex attacks.
Authorities say 16 suspects have been identified, but so far no arrests have been made.
A crowd of around 1,000 seemingly drunk men, reportedly of Arab or North African appearance, gathered outside the railway station and groped, robbed and abused scores of women.
Police initially evacuated the area, but the gangs returned and carried out yet more assaults.
Events have sent shockwaves through Germany.
Angela Merkel has vowed a strong response:
“ We have already bolstered the Interior Ministry by employing 4,000 new federal police officers. This is one of many necessary responses. We also have to think about how we live together and the basis of cultural society in Germany. We can talk, but talk must be followed by deeds.”
The alleged nationalities of the attackers has caused alarm as Germany welcomed one million migrants last year with far-right groups blaming the attacks on mass-migration.==
Picture says a 1000 words Cologne attacks #auspol #Muslims #merkelschweigt
sunriseon7</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NoSyrianRefugees?src=hash">#NoSyrianRefugees</a> <a href="https://t.co/AMqHwBdNIL">pic.twitter.com/AMqHwBdNIL</a></p>— Tweetheart (INDXT) January 7, 2016
Cologne police have received 106 criminal complaints, including two alleged rapes.
Wolfgang Albers is the head of Cologne police:’‘We have 16 suspects. The investigation unit is continuing to examine evidence, which is not easy as we have varying CCTV quality. Also a large number of witnesses need to give evidence. That is how we are working. We have more people working on it and we want results, fast.”
Kölns Polizeipräsident Wolfgang Albers im BILD-Verhör: Vertrauen Sie Ihren SEK-Leuten noch?BILD Köln (@BILD_Koeln) July 2, 2015
Similar attacks have also been reported in Hamburg and Stuttgart.
Cologne police described events as a “new dimension of crime,” however, police unions blamed the inability to deal with the situation on a lack of police resources.