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Germany: Merkel backs deportation for law-breaking asylum seekers

Thousands gather for a day of protests in Cologne

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Germany: Merkel backs deportation for law-breaking asylum seekers

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  • Cologne police chief leaves position
  • Thousands rally in Cologne city centre
  • Merkel toughens stance on migrants and the law

The news

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is in favour of toughening the country’s stance against asylum seekers who are convicted of serious crimes.

Merkel says she is in favour of tightening the rules governing expulsion, even for those given suspended sentences.

The far-right Pegida political movement assembled thousands of its supporters in Cologne on Saturday afternoon.

Police barricades separated them from crowds of supporters from the far-left who gathered in response.

The context

Angela Merkel’s comments come as anger continues to grow over reports of a wave of sexual assaults and harassment in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

The incidents happened outside the city’s main railway station and have sparked fresh debate about Germany’s “open-door” refugee policy.

Gangs of men described as of North African and Arab appearance are said to have been behind the scores of attacks.

Victims say the assaults were carried out by men they describe as of North African and Arab appearance.

The police have been sharply criticised for their handling of the incidents.