- Title: German authorities express relief about peaceful New Year celebrations
- Date: 1st January 2017
- Summary: COLOGNE, GERMANY (JANUARY 1, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF POLICE PRESENCE AND CRASH BARRIERS READY TO BE REMOVED IN SQUARE NEXT TO COLOGNE CATHEDRAL AND TRAIN STATION WHERE ONE YEAR AGO, HUNDREDS OF WOMEN WERE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED BY GANGS OF DRUNKEN MEN DURING NEW YEAR CELEBRATIONS SECURITY CAMERAS TRAIN STATION / POLICE INFO MOBILE PARKED IN SQUARE COLOGNE MAYOR HENRIETTE REKER ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE REKER WALKING TO MICROPHONES JUERGEN MATHIES, COLOGNE POLICE PRESIDENT, LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (German) COLOGNE MAYOR, HENRIETTE REKER, SAYING: "For the city of Cologne I would like to say - and I am very happy about that - that the security area around Cologne cathedral was a success in my view." CAMERAS (SOUNDBITE) (German) COLOGNE'S POLICE PRESIDENT, JUERGEN MATHIES, SAYING: "Overall, we checked the identities of 650 people of whom, based on police officers' assessments, around 98 to 99 percent - almost all of them - were from North Africa." BERLIN, GERMANY (JANUARY 1, 2017) (REUTERS) THOMAS NEUENDORF, BERLIN POLICE SPOKESMAN, BEING INTERVIEWED WRITING ABOVE DOOR READING "BERLIN POLICE PRESIDENT" (SOUNDBITE) (German) BERLIN POLICE SPOKESMAN, THOMAS NEUENDORF, SAYING: "Overall, everything along the party strip near Brandenburg Gate remained peaceful and exuberant. However, a few crimes were committed. We received six criminal complaints from women who were sexually molested. Two suspects were detained, two men aged 20 and 26." RUNNERS FOR TRADITIONAL "NEW YEAR'S RUN" GETTING INTO PLACE AT OPPOSITE SIDE OF BERLIN'S LANDMARK, THE BRANDENBURG GATE, WHERE ONLY HOURS BEFORE, HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE CELEBRATED INTO THE NEW YEAR VARIOUS OF RUNNERS RUNNING OFF
- Embargoed: 16th January 2017 15:56
- Keywords: Berlin Cologne New Year celebrations police stock
- Location: COLOGNE, BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: COLOGNE, BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,International/National Security
- Reuters ID: LVA0015X90AX3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: German authorities said on Sunday (January 1) that New Year celebrations remained mostly peaceful and that they had screened hundreds of North Africans on New Year's Eve at the main railway station in the western city of Cologne, where hundreds of women were sexually assaulted and robbed during celebrations a year ago.
Last year's attacks in Cologne, where police said the suspects were mainly of North African and Arab appearance, fuelled criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to allow over a million asylum seekers into Germany in 2015 and 2016.
Cologne's police president Juergen Mathies told reporters "we checked the identities of 650 people of whom, based on police officers' assessments, around 98 to 99 percent - almost all of them - were from North Africa."
Police installed new video surveillance cameras to monitor the station square in Cologne this New Year's Eve.
In Berlin, where hundreds of thousands of people participated in Europe's largest New Year celebrations, "everything along the party strip near Brandenburg Gate remained peaceful and exuberant," according to police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf.
He added: "We received six criminal complaints from women who were sexually molested. Two suspects were detained, two men aged 20 and 26."
For the first time, concrete barriers were set up to block access to the celebrations following a truck attack on a crowded Christmas market on Dec. 19 which killed 12 people and injured 48 others.
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