COLOGNE/ESSEN A strong police presence was needed to respond to Halloween night incidents in Cologne and Essen. Three sex offenses were reported in Cologne and in Essen, the main train station had to be temporarily closed.
Large police units were called out on Halloween night in Cologne and Essen. Cologne police reported on Wednesday that some groups of heavily intoxicated and aggressive men from Arabic and North African countries were gathered in front of the Cologne Cathedral at around 8 pm on Tuesday night. 100 police officers were called in for reinforcement. Police checked the identification of several hundred persons, and a large number were ordered to leave. The police said that early intervention resulted in the “heated mood” being calmed down.
Another focal point for police was the Cologne Ring Road. Waiting lines in front of local bars and restaurants led to fistfights and police had to intervene. Three sex offenses were reported in the city, in which women charged they had been touched indecently. In two of the cases, police were able to detain the suspects on the scene.
Clashes between police and individual groups led to a short-term closing of the Essen train station. Police said there was a Zombie walk on Tuesday evening at 8 pm and there were groups of men who argued repeatedly with travelers and amongst themselves.
At 11 pm, the closures were lifted. Federal police have initiated criminal proceedings for assault, dangerous bodily harm and narcotics violations. On Wednesday, police disputed reports on social media that the incidences had been on par with New Year’s Eve in Cologne a couple years ago. So far, there had been no complaints of sexual harassment in those incidents in Essen and there been no complaints of pickpocketing. Police reported that the participants from the Zombie walk were not a part of the groups involved in the clashes.
Orig. text: Sebastian Fink. Translation: ckloep