More than a thousand men reportedly stormed Germany on New Year's Eve, allegedly committing various sexual assaults, robberies and at least one rape, and police are now saying that the heinous acts represent “a completely new dimension of crime."
Cologne city police chief Wolfgang Albers said the attackers came “seemingly with the specific intention of carrying out attacks on women." Police said the men were “of Arab or North African appearance," according to the BBC. The men appeared to be "heavily intoxicated," according to DW Akademie.
It took these media outlets and the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, five days to cover the violence, but Der Spiegel finally ran the story on its front page Tuesday, Mediaite reported.
At least 90 complaints have been made from people who gathered in Cologne's square near a train station and the Gothic cathedral to ring in the new year, and authorities expect that more alleged victims will come forward in the coming days.
Albers called it "an intolerable situation" and has already deployed a task force to deal with any possible acts of violence going forward. Most notably, German authorities are concerned about what might happen in February during the annual, drunken street parties of carnival season are in full swing.
"We will not accept the vile attacks on women. All perpetrators must consistently be brought to justice," Germany's justice minister, Heiko Maas, tweeted Tuesday.
Die abscheulichen Übergriffe auf Frauen werden wir nicht hinnehmen. Alle Täter müssen konsequent zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden. #Silvester— Heiko Maas (@HeikoMaas) January 5, 2016
Germany, like the U.S., has been embroiled recently in the international debate over whether to allow Muslim refugees into certain countries. German chancellor Angela Merkel supports letting the refugees settle there, but a vast number of her constituents disagree.