Police: Cologne carnival relatively peaceful, 35 sex assault charges

Cologne's annual street carnival has so far been relatively peaceful, police in the western German city said, despite having logged over 400 complaints by Sunday.

The complaints received over the course of weekend celebrations were mainly regarding pickpocketing and scuffles, although 35 cases involve allegations of sexual assault.

Police presence has been bolstered for the five-day programme of street parties and parades after crowds of men allegedly robbed, assaulted and, in a handful of cases, raped women in the city centre on New Year's Eve.

Although police said that this year's carnival had so far been more peaceful than in 2015, they were unable to give comparative figures for that timeframe as no such crime report was compiled that year.

On average, around 50 allegations of sexual assault are placed each year over the course of the festivities, during which revellers dress in outlandish costumes and parties run late into the night.

The celebrations culminate in a grand parade on so-called Rose Monday. However, the event has been scaled down this year due to stormy weather forecasts and the 500 horses traditionally seen in the procession will not take part.

Last update: Sun, 21/08/2016 - 12:54

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