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26 sexual assaults reported at German music festival

By Ed Adamczyk
26 sexual assaults reported at German music festival
At the Schlossgrabenfest music festival near Darmstadt, Germany, 26 women said they were sexually assaulted, and police arrested three men thus far, each from Pakistan and seeking asylum in Germany. Photo courtesy of Schlossgrabenfest

DARMSTADT , Germany, June 1 (UPI) -- Darmstadt, Germany, police are seeking suspects after 26 women filed sexual assault reports saying they were groped at a weekend music festival.

Three women reported being groped by groups of men who encircled them Saturday at the Schlossgrabenfest music festival, an outdoor series of weekend performances. More women came forward with similar stories in the following days, the majority between 16 and 25 years, Ferdinand Derigs, spokesman of the Darmstadt police said.

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He said up to 10 men may have been involved in the assaults.

Three unidentified men, asylum seekers originally from Pakistan, were arrested. They are between 28 and 31, and working together, allegedly assaulted two or three women. Two of the men are recent arrivals to Germany from Pakistan.

The annual festival started Thursday and concluded Sunday. About 80,000 people attended Saturday's show, with about 400,000 attending throughout the weekend, police said.

The attacks are similar to those reported at New Year's Eve festivities in Cologne, where up to 1,000 women may have been groped by men described as North African or Arab in descent. The incidents prompted a backlash against refugees arriving in Germany, and support for refugees declined across Europe.

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