Two weeks after New Year’s Eve Cologne police have changed their report on who they identified on the night, saying most of the men were not North Africans but rather were from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
Immediately after the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne two weeks ago police were slammed by politicians and left-wing activists for the use of the term “Nafri” which they used to describe North African men. Cologne police have now announced that many of the men who they had to control on the night were not from North Africa but rather were from the Middle-East and Central Asia, Der Standard reports.
Police say that some 2,500 ID checks were made during the course of the evening in what the police had dubbed the “ring of steel” in the Cologne cathedral square. A total of 674 men were checked, some multiple times throughout the course of the evening, and of those, police could determine the nationality of 425 of them.
Iraqi nationals were the most numerous of those checked by authorities with 99 men stopped. Syrians were a close second with 94 men, and Afghan nationals were third with 48. North Africans were also present as police recorded 17 Morrocans and 13 Algerians. Forty-six German nationals were also examined by police.
Police addressed the issue after being accused of racial profiling by critics despite the New Year’s Eve celebrations going off largely without incident. The year before Cologne police had been, by many accounts, totally unprepared to handle the large group of men, primarily of North African origin, who fired fireworks into crowds, robbed, and sexually abused hundreds of women.
One year on, very few of the hundreds of estimated suspects have been tried or convicted. The number of finalised convictions for sexual assault crimes is so far a mere 5 men and only 18 final convictions for all crimes in total.
The police operation two weeks ago saw some 1,700 officers deployed and the entire area around the cathedral turned into a security zone. Despite the massive show of force, there were still two sexual assaults, six thefts, and 29 individuals were arrested on the night.
The security presence in other cities across Europe was also considerably increased but it did not stop at least 18 women from being the subject of sexual assault in the Austrian city of Innsbruck. So far, police have managed to arrest several Afghan asylum seekers in connection with the sex attacks but have warned there may still be more suspects at large.