Merkel on defensive as anti-migrant sentiment soars in wake of Cologne rapes

By REUTERS
January 9, 2016 16:45

 
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Migrants who commit crimes should lose their right to asylum, German chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday, toughening her tone as crowds gathered in Cologne angered by mass assaults on women on New Year's Eve.

Nearly two dozen asylum seekers were among those suspected of carrying out the attacks, police said this week, heightening tensions over immigration and fueling criticism of Merkel's refusal to place a limit on the numbers of migrants entering the country.

"The right to asylum can be lost if someone is convicted on probation or jailed," Merkel said after a meeting of the leadership of her Christian Democrats (CDU) party.

"Serial offenders who repeatedly rob or repeatedly affront women must feel the full force of the law," Merkel told journalists in Mainz, promising a reduction over the longer term in the flow of migrants to Germany.

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