Outraged Germans are using the hashtag #einearmlaenge, 'an arm's length,' to mock and denounce officials' response to reports of rising amounts of sexual violence on the streets of Cologne.
This New Year's Eve, Cologne police reportedly received over 90 complaints from young women, stories of robbery, sexual assault and rape by men described as "North African or Arabic." Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker sparked viral backlash on Tuesday when she told reporters the city would solve the spike in crime by advising women how to avoid rape. "It is always possible to keep a certain distance that is longer than an arm's length," she said. Since then, the hashtag #einearmlaenge has been shared over 23,000 times on Twitter. We used Verne to analyze these tweets and reveal the top five retorts to Reker's advice. Here they are, with the help of Google translate:
... empfiehlt das Auswärtige Amt Reisenden in Syrien als Sofortmaßnahme, zu IS-Kämpfern stets eine Armlänge Distanz zu halten. #einearmlaenge
— Sascha Lobo (@saschalobo) January 5, 2016
Translation: "the Foreign Ministry recommends travelers in Syria as an emergency measure , always keep IS- fighters at arm's length"
— Heiko Maas (@HeikoMaas) January 6, 2016
Translation: "From behavior tips like #anarmslength...It's not women who bear the responsibility, but the perpetrators."
— carolin kebekus (@carolinkebekus) January 5, 2016
Translation: "The types at the #koelnhbf [train station] were foreigners? No, they were assholes."
— Marie von den Benken (@Regendelfin) January 5, 2016
Translation: "Seriously, Lady Reker? This proposal sounds more like #onebraincell"
— Wreck it Ren! (@Abessinier) January 5, 2016
Translation: "#anarmslength doesn't always help"
Feminists aren't the only ones riled up about Reker's unhelpful suggestion. German Reddit discussions are filled with xenophobic rants about immigrants, referred to as "unwanted" and "scum," blaming the politicians who accepted Syrian refugees. The white supremacist forum Stormfront is filled with international users calling on Germans to revive their Nazi past. "Anger is growing in Germany, if a fire is lit there I am in hope it will spread throughout white europe," said one forum user. Today, several fights involving anti-immigration protesters erupted in the streets of Cologne. Meanwhile, online fury continues to fan the flames.
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