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Asylum seekers 'among suspects' in Cologne violence

A German state interior minister has said people of foreign descent were responsible for virtually all of the violence on new year's eve in Cologne, adding that this included migrants who arrived in Germany over the past year.

More than 100 women reported being threatened, robbed or molested during news year's eve celebrations in the city.

"Based on testimony from witnesses, the report from the Cologne police and descriptions by the federal police, it looks as if people with a migration background were almost exclusively responsible for the criminal acts," Ralf Jaeger, Interior Minister from the State of North Rhine-Westphalia told a special commission.

"All signs point to these being north Africans and people from the Arab world," he added. "Based on what we know now from the investigation, asylum seekers who arrived in the past year are among the suspects."

Arrests as police clash with protesters in Cologne

A man is led away by police during the protest. Credit: Reuters

Police made a number of arrests during clashes with protesters in Cologne on Saturday.

Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement Pegida have been taking part in a demonstration following mass assaults on women on New Year's Eve, with some throwing firecrackers and beer bottles at police, Reuters reported.

Two people were injured during the protest, with a police spokesman saying some of the protesters came from the "hooligan scene".

More than 3,000 people attended the rally, with police using a water cannon against protesters at one point.

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Police fire water cannon on protesters in Cologne

Police have used a water cannon to disperse protesters in the German city of Cologne.

Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement Pegida have been taking part in a demonstration following mass assaults on women on New Year's Eve.

Around 1,700 police officers have been deployed during the protest, and there were reports of scuffles between authorities and those taking part.

Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement Pegida take part in a march. Credit: Reuters

Woman strips naked to protest Cologne NYE attacks

A protester took to the streets of Cologne naked after a series of violent and sexual attacks against women on New Year's Eve.

"Respect us! We are not fair game even when naked" Credit: APTN

Swiss artist Milo Moire braved the cold to bare all in the German city's cathedral square, holding up a sign which read: "Respect us! We are not fair game even when naked".

She said her protest was a reaction to some advice from officials warning women to keep men at arm's length, saying: "It is a matter of course we have worked for in the past 50 years, that I can live as a woman the way I want to, in freedom."

Police were on patrol in the square but did not interfere with the performance - though they did usher away a number of young men in the area around the main station and cathedral.

Witnesses have described the hundreds of men who carried out the attacks as being of "Arab or North African origin," but little concrete evidence has been released to date on who was responsible for the assaults.

Cologne police chief 'relieved of duties' after NYE attacks

The chief of police in Cologne has been "relieved of his duties" after a series of violent attacks and sexual assaults in the city on New Year's Eve, Reuters reports, citing a state government source.

Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers has been 'relieved of his duties' over his handling of the New Year's Eve attacks Credit: Reuters

Wolfgang Albers, aged 60, faced heavy criticism over his handling of the attacks, in which around 1,000 "foreign-looking" men mugged, threatened and assaulted women in the city centre as they rang in 2016.

He has reportedly now been told by state interior minister Ralf Jaeger that he would be given early retirement.

An official announcement is expected later today.

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Cologne police chief 'to resign' over mass sex assaults

The police chief in the town of Cologne is set to resign following mass sexual assaults on women on New Years, a government source has told Reuters.

Police in the town had been criticised for failing to take action as gangs of men assaulted dozens of women in the town centre.

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