A gang of migrants in the German town of Essen have engaged in Cologne-style sex attacks at a festival where police have received reports of at least ten separate incidents.
Yet another festival in Germany has been the scene of migrant crime as roving gangs of migrants sexually attacked multiple female victims on Friday and Saturday. The festival in the town of Essen known as “Essen Original” had gone over two decades without any major incident and was largely considered a family friendly event. That changed this weekend as police made at least seven arrests of migrants who had groped and harassed several women German paper Westen Allgemeine Zeitung reports.
Police presence at the festival this year was the highest it has ever been and they report that the three-day festival was completely overshadowed by “men with apparent migration background” molesting and attacking various girls in large groups in the same vein as the Cologne attacks on New Year’s Eve.
Police have so far arrested seven men, four of which they confirmed were migrants they say are from the regions of North Africa and the Middle East and lived at nearby asylum homes. The suspects were detained and later released after being questioned, a practice that has been criticised by many and something neighbouring Austria has promised to change.
Authorities say that the attacks took place in various parts of the city with two particularly serious incidents occurring on Friday at 10pm near the Marktkirche church and in front of one of the festival stages at Kennedy square on Saturday at 11:30pm.
Police say the Saturday attack began after the end of a concert by artist Seven as two 18 to 25-year-old migrant men approached and molested a group of 18-year-old girls. Plain clothes police officers acted immediately to end the attack by confronting the pair of attackers who fought back against the police before being subdued and arrested. The migrants responsible for the attack on Friday night have so far not been found.
Sex attacks were not the only crimes reported at the festival. Several festival-goers say that migrant men had harassed them, pick-pocketed them and others even claimed they had been violently attacked.
Festival director Dieter Groppe claimed that the organizers had done everything they could to prevent the attacks by increasing the amount of uniformed and plain clothes police at the event. Mr. Groppe expressed dismay at the events saying, “this is something we have never experienced before.”
Police also warn that the cases of sexual assault could just be the start and have encouraged victims to contact them through a confidential phone number.
The increase in security, police say, allowed them to quickly identify suspects, but as was the case in Sweden last month, it did not prevent the attacks from occurring. Authorities across Germany worry that migrant crime from sexual molestation to acts of terror at German festivals could become rampant. The organizers of Germany’s largest festival Oktoberfest have even considered banning backpacks due to these security concerns.