Dutch social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher has criticised Cologne’s mayor for suggesting young women in the city keep strange men at arm’s length during the Carnival celebrations.
Henriette Reker made the comments on Tuesday in response to the New Year attacks, in which dozens of women were repeatedly touched and groped in the city centre. Two women have said they were raped.
Asscher said on Facebook that sexual violence is a ‘horrific attack on human dignity’. Reker may have been well-meaning with her comments but she sent out completely the wrong signal, he said.
‘Every woman has the right to freedom and safety in our society… and it is inappropriate to indirectly suggest the victims could have done something about it. The “short skirts” argument is thankfully no longer acceptable as an excuse for sexual violence,’ the Dutch minister said.
Three men have so far been identified in connection with the attacks, the Volkskrant said. The perpetrators are said to be of ‘north African’ appearance although Cologne police have denied asylum seekers are involved.
Anti-Islam campaigner and PVV party leader Geert Wilders said in a column on The Post Online that Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and German chancellor Angela Merkel are responsible for what he called ‘these testosterone bombs’.
The events in Cologne are ‘a sign’ of what awaits the Netherlands unless the cabinet and MPs recognise the truth of what is happening in front of their own eyes, he said.
‘Our women and daughters should protected,’ he said. ‘The borders must close and the Netherlands must de-Islamise.’
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