Following the first extensive police report on New Year’s Eve sexual attacks in Cologne, German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced political pressure over her policy on refugees.
Eleven foreigners were injured in the attacks that occurred in the wake of the sexual assaults in the city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve. According to Deutsche Welle, police believe the attacks were arranged through social media.
Reuters reports that the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party criticized Merkel over her stand on migrants. Members of her conservative party said that the inflow of migrants needs to be stopped if successful integration of the hundreds of thousands of migrants who entered Germany last year is to be ensured. “If the influx continues as it has, then integration can’t work,” Carsten Linnemann, a lawmaker in Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), said. “If we get another 800,000 or a million people arriving this year, then we won’t be able to do this.”
More than 2000 LEGIDA protesters demonstrated against the Cologne attacks in the city of Leipzig. One of the protesters, Olaf Schwermer, feared there could be more attacks if the migrants were deported and the borders closed. “What happened in Cologne only gave us a taste of what’s about to come,” he said.
Merkel described the Cologne sexual attacks as “disgusting,” saying that the assailants should be brought to justice, as reported by CNBC. On the German government’s website, she said, “Everything must be done to identify the perpetrators as rapidly and comprehensively as possible, and to punish them irrespective of their origin or background.
Last year, Germany borders were opened to allow hundreds of thousands of migrants into the country; as many as 1 million migrants arrived in the country. Majority of these were fleeing the civil war in Syria. In light of the recent Cologne attacks, however, questions are being raised concerning Germany’s immigration controls and checks.