Cologne police receive 224 complaints during first night of carnival

Police said on Friday they have so far received a total of 224 complaints from people attending Germany's annual carnival in the western city of Cologne, which was the focus of mass sexual attacks and robberies against women on New Year's Eve.

The complaints received by police overnight to Friday covered claims of personal injury, property damage as well as sexual assaults.

Police are expected to outline further details on the complaints later Friday, as it remains unclear whether these numbers mark an increase from last year.

An average of 50 complaints ranging from sexual assault to rape are filed with Cologne police each year.

Thursday was the first night of Germany's traditional carnival celebrations, which are marked with often outlandish costumes, parades and parties in many cities largely in the Rhineland region.

A 29-year-old man was arrested during celebrations in a small Rhineland town after a 24-year-old woman claimed she had been raped, police said.

Police have dramatically stepped up their presence at carnival events to prevent a repeat of New Year's Eve, when women in the city centre of Cologne reported being encircled, sexually harassed and robbed, allegedly by gangs of migrants.

Around 180 people ended up in police custody after Thursday night's celebrations, while 11 police officers were slightly injured as a result of various altercations.

Police in other Rhineland cities such as Bonn and Duisburg said the first night of carnival had passed relatively peacefully.

Last update: Fri, 05/02/2016 - 12:01

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