New Year's Eve Assaults Spark Anti-Immigrant Protests in Germany
Protesters marched against Germany's open-door migration policy after asylum seekers were arrested for assaults on women on New Year's Eve.
Police confront supporters of the anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA (or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) during a march in Cologne, Germany, on Jan. 9.
German riot police broke up far-right protesters in Cologne on Saturday as they marched against Germany's open-door migration policy after dozens of asylum seekers were arrested for mass assaults on women on New Year's Eve. The attacks, ranging from sexual molestation to theft, shocked Germany, which took in 1.1 million migrants and refugees in 2015 under asylum laws championed by Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite fervent opposition.
Police use a water cannon to drive back anti-immigrant protesters in Cologne.
Police said around 1,700 people attended the rally organized by the far-right anti-Islam PEGIDA movement, which has seized on the alleged involvement of migrants in the Cologne attacks as proof Merkel's policy is flawed.
An anti-immigrant protester confronts police in Cologne.
Germany took in approximately 1.1 million migrants and refugees in 2015.
Counter-demonstrators hold a sign reading "Rascist, you are disgusting, the world could be so nice without you."
The ranks of PEGIDA, or Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, have swelled as resentment spread towards Merkel's welcoming stance to refugees.
Earlier in the week, German federal police said they had identified 32 people who were suspected of playing a role in the attacks on women on Cologne, 22 of whom were in the process of seeking asylum in Germany.
A protester's sign reads, "Yesterday applauded, today grabbed, tomorrow woken up."