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West German Town Cancels Carnival Amid Fears of Sexual Assaults by Refugees

© AP Photo / Juergen SchwarzRight-wing demonstrators hold a sign "Rapefugees not welcome - !Stay away!" and a sign with a crossed out mosque as they march in Cologne, Germany Saturday Jan. 9, 2016
Right-wing demonstrators hold a sign Rapefugees not welcome - !Stay away! and a sign with a crossed out mosque as they march in Cologne, Germany Saturday Jan. 9, 2016 - Sputnik International
The western German town of Rheinberg has canceled next week’s carnival procession to one of its suburbs due to heightened risks of assaults by refugees, the Rheinberg municipal office said on Monday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Over 500 criminal complaints have been filed by women in Germany accusing small groups of purportedly Arab and North African men with robbing, threatening or sexually assaulting them on New Year’s Eve. The alleged assaults have occurred in cities including Berlin, Hamburg and Cologne, 45 miles south of Rheinberg.

"Since [the carnival organizer] OKK, given the short time available until the Monday before Lent, was not able to create an appropriate safety concept, it has withdrawn its application for approval of a Rose Monday procession in Orsoy," the Rheinberg clerk’s office said in a press release.

The city maintained that "there has not been a rejection of the Rose procession through the city of Rheinberg on Monday."

"Due to the current events in the context of immigrants, in particular the events in Cologne and other major cities, interference cannot be ruled out in particular by intoxicated persons in the vicinity of the central housing unit," the clerk’s office added.

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Up to 300 refugees are said to be housed in Orsoy, Rheinberg’s southeastern suburb.

North-Rhine Westphalia Interior Minister Ralf Jaeger has confirmed this week nearly every person responsible for the mass assaults on women in Cologne was of "foreign origin."

Over a million refugees have arrived in Germany from crises-torn North African and Middle Eastern states last year amid the heaviest migrant crisis in decades.

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