Austrian City Reports Unprecedented Number Of Sex Assaults On NYE

REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay.

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

Police in the Austrian city of Innsbruck are searching for a group of men “of foreign appearance” after an unprecedented number of sexual assaults were reported on New Year’s Eve.

At least 19 women have reported being sexually assaulted during celebrations at Innsbruck’s main square, where 25,000 people gathered.

“We’ve not had anything like this happen here before,” Ernst Kranebitter, the city’s senior police official told AFP. “It has definitely been proved that the men are foreign. We are investigating.”

Video footage caught some of the assaults, but the poor quality makes it hard to identify suspects.

“They were dancing around the victims and then suddenly grabbed their breast or stuck their hands between their legs,” Kranebitter said. “That’s what made it hard for others to notice what was going on — it all happened amid festivities.”

Police in the capital of Vienna prepared for similar incidents by handing out 6,000 pocket alarms to women. (RELATED: Austrian Women Get Pocket Alarms To Ward Off Sex Attacks On NYE)

The German city of Cologne avoided a repeat of last year’s sexual assault wave by increasing security measures. Police were accused of racial profiling after screening hundreds of men with North African appearance.

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