In today's WTF news, reports of a series of sex attacks on New Year's Eve - in the centre of Cologne, Germany - are emerging...
In what has been described as ‘a completely new dimension of crime’, reports have emerged claiming that up to 1000 men took to the streets in Cologne on New Year’s Eve – sexually assaulting, grabbing and attacking women in the centre of the city.
As it stands, it’s thought that over 60 criminal complaints have been filed – including at least one allegation of rape – and Cologne’s Police Chief, Wolfgang Albers, has called the situation ‘intolerable’. One of the women assaulted was a volunteer policewoman, and there are fears that the majority of women attacked may not have come forward.
But despite the severity of the attacks (after all, being described as a ‘completely new dimension of crime’ is a pretty damning statement), the incident received little media coverage in Germany (or abroad) until five days after the event.
And this is what has prompted many Twitter users to claim that there’s a national cover up taking place – even taking to social media with the hashtag #aufschrei (‘outcry’) in a bid to draw the international media’s attention to the event.
One reason behind the lack of coverage could be because the men accused of the attacks are described as appearing to be ‘North African or Arabic’ – and even though the local police took pains to clarify that many of the men had been known to them for some time (and were not recent arrivals) – the worry seems to be that reporting the attacks could provoke local racial hatred towards the 1.5 million refugees thought to have arrived in Germany last year.
‘It makes me sad that the refugees who really need protection will bear the brunt of the hatred because of Cologne,’ Twitter user @WildEastBerlin wrote on social media. ‘We need to be able to tell the difference.’