The two German students said they were subjected to groping by a mob that “lasted 10 minutes” in Milan’s Piazza de Duomo
Two young Germans, identified as Maria H and Victoria Z, feared they would be “raped or trampled to death” by a mob during Milan’s New Year’s Eve festivities, with police being aware of three attacks on at least nine women.
In a video shared by Ruptly, the two women can be seen pinned against security barriers by a group of men in the city’s famous square as they shout for help from police and passersby.
One can be seen holding her coat down in an attempt to protect herself, while her friend grips her arm in fear. After other individuals intervened to help them, the pair managed to flee the mob, being chased through the square, before reaching safety behind a line of police officers.
“We had 15 hands on us. The attack lasted 10 minutes,” one of the students told Italian media. ‘The police did nothing. I hit a guy in the face – he just grinned and said he’d go on anyway. I was pushed to the floor and they pushed my skirt up,” she added.
Police and prosecutors have said they were aware of three attacks on at least nine women in the square but, so far, they have not released details regarding the other two assaults.
Police conducted a series of raids on Tuesday, after identifying 18 individuals – all allegedly foreigners or Italians of North African origin – suspected of having been involved in the assault.
The authorities confirmed on Wednesday that they had detained two men, one in Milan and the other in Turin, accused of having been involved in incidents that night.
The Interior Ministry stated that computer material and clothing related to the events had been found at their homes. The men are accused of sexual assault and robbery.
The attacks in Milan were reminiscent of events on New Year’s Eve 2015 in Cologne, Germany, in which women were subjected to sexual assault by crowds of men who’d gathered near the central railway station. The scenes were called “abominable” by then-Chancellor Angela Merkel, and resulted in 1,210 criminal complaints, 511 of which involved sexual assault.