Video emerges of Cologne New Year’s Eve violence


From the German edition of The Local

Cologne police on Monday released previously unseen video footage of the chaos at the city’s main train station on New Year’s Eve, when hundreds of women reported sexual assaults and thefts by large groups of foreign men.

In brief extracts of the video posted to YouTube by public broadcaster WDR, a distressed young woman can at one point be heard shouting “you mustn’t touch me, you mustn’t touch me” above the noise of the crowd.

Police can be seen scuffling with members of the large crowds or helplessly watching men loosing rockets and detonating bangers around the square in front of the station and the cathedral steps.

“We can’t hold this with two people,” one officer says to another during the extracts.

The video shows scenes outside the main train station around 11:30pm on New Year’s Eve, when up to 1,000 people, many of them of Arab or north African appearance, were crammed into the space.

Police higher-ups finally decided to clear the square by force at 23:40 – but the full-length video clearly shows insufficient numbers of officers to effectively remove the crowd.

When the video was shown in the North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state parliament’s inquiry committee, members immediately noticed that the police also failed to issue instructions over loudspeaker to the mass of people.

The video was released on the same day that NRW interior minister Ralf Jäger faced the inquiry committee in Düsseldorf. There he denied accusations that the state government had put pressure on police to remove the word “rape” from the first reports about New Year’s Eve.

“The accusation of a cover-up is made up out of thin air,” he said. “No-one had any idea of what happened there until January 3rd.” I think the people who were there on December 31st/January1st had a bit of an idea. Being eye witnesses. 

Jäger claimed that even the Cologne police did not have a clear picture of the extent of the sexual violence before January 4th. Jäger is the first politician to take the stand before the committee after long series of police officers and Cologne city officials. And he didn’t hesitate to lay the blame for the mistakes on New Year’s Eve at the feet of police.

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