A Night In Cologne: The New Year’s Eve celebrations that changed Germany’s attitude to refugees

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A mob sexual assault on young female revellers on New Year’s Eve turned Germany’s celebrated tolerance of mass migration upside down. What happened and why was it hushed up? How has it changed the nation?

Michelle describes how the assailants, supposedly refugees, “touched us everywhere they could, between the legs and our breasts”. Police and media initially downplayed the incident, but as days went by, Germans learned that more than 1000 complaints of sexual assault and theft had been lodged, with the alleged assailants being described as North African and Middle Eastern. Subsequently, the generosity that has seen Germany embrace more than a million new migrants in the past year, otherwise known as “Welcome Culture”, is wearing thin. For Frauke Petry, head of the increasingly popular right wing Alternative Party for Germany, “it’s time to wake up” to the way society is being changed by immigration. Left-wing feminist Alice Schwarzer fears that a “misguided tolerance” on race issues facilitated the violence, and the resultant backlash. “I am convinced”, says Schwarzer, “that we have for the first time since 1945, a growing right wing movement.”

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