Why Germany can't face the truth about migrant sex attacks: SUE REID finds a nation in denial as a wave of horrific attacks is reported across Europe
More than 516 women were targeted in Cologne on New Year's Eve They were chased, cornered and groped; mobiles and wallets were stolen ‘The men were all foreigners, and when we protested, in German, they did not understand us,’ victim Michelle said German ministers say 3,200 migrants a day continue to enter the country See more of the latest news on Germany's migrant sex attacks
New Year's Eve Sex Assaults
A New Year's Eve attack on scores of women has one German city on edge. Over the weekend, thousands took to the streets of Cologne to protest a string of vicious sexual attacks by men who were reportedly of Arab and North African descent.
The attacks come as German leaders face mounting pressure to deal with the influx of migrants from the Middle East.
"I am here today because we are all very sad about the things that happened here," remarked Seyda, a protester and resident of Cologne.
More than 500 women have filed criminal complaints, with 40 percent of them saying they were molested and groped by men.
"They directly surrounded us and we couldn't move," recalled Michelle, a victim of the New Year's Eve attacks.
Cologne has been on edge since last Friday when reports surfaced that refugees who recently arrived in the country were among the suspected attackers.
Scores of women stood in front of a cathedral protesting sexual violence.
"It is about making clear that we will not stop moving freely around our city and to protest against victim bashing and women being abused," Cologne resident Ina Wolf proclaimed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing tremendous pressure after allowing more than 1 million refugees into the country in 2015.
Over the weekend, some 2,000 anti-Muslim protesters also took to the streets demanding that Germany close its borders to refugees.
"I am shaken by the events of New Year's Eve, but it is not only about that incident. What is happening at the moment in Germany is concerning. I am worried. I do not have the feeling that this is still my country," Cologne resident Helmut Erner said.
Meanwhile, a counter-demonstration defending refugees took place simultaneously in another part of the city.
"We are upset and angry as women of the sexual violence that happened here in Cologne on New Year's Eve. But we are even more upset and angry that there are racists that are using this for their racist propaganda because sexual violence is a global issue. It is a German issue as well as an international issue," Emile Michels, a student in Cologne, explained.
Chancellor Merkel's popularity has dropped since refusing to limit the number of refugees coming into Germany. Almost three-quarters of those polled in a recent survey say migration was the most important issue for the government to deal with this year.
Merkel announced a plan Saturday making it easier to deport refugees who commit crimes following the sexual assaults.