GERMANY: Thousands have pledged their support to a German vigilante group which has vowed to protect women from migrants in the wake of the New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne.
A week after a mob of ‘drunk and stoned’ migrants sexually assaulted and robbed 100 women on the streets of Cologne, a group known as ‘Dusseldorf is Watching’ has gained more than 8,000 Facebook members.
The group says it wants to make the streets safer through ‘presence’ alone but police have warned that ‘searching for offenders is not a job for citizens’.
German police have said 18 of the 31 suspects arrested in connection with the Cologne attacks were asylum seekers. They were arrested on suspicion of committing crimes ranging from theft to assault, and one case of verbal abuse of a sexual nature, Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate told reporters in Berlin.
They were believed to be among a group of up to 1,000 people in front of Cologne’s main railway station on Thursday evening.
Two of the men arrested behind Cologne’s main train station were carrying threatening, handwritten notes in German and Arabic.
The notes, which they are thought to have handed to women, included the ‘I am going to kill you’, ‘I want to f***’, ‘I’m only joking with you’ and ‘nice breasts’.
Mr Plate said the suspects were nine Algerians, eight Moroccans, five Iranians, four Syrians, two Germans and one person each from Iraq, Serbia and the United States.
None of the 31 suspects were accused of committing the kind of sexual crimes that have outraged Germany this past week.
Police in Cologne have received 170 criminal complaints from victims of the to New Year’s mass attacks, including 120 of a sexual nature.