Italian police said Tuesday they had identified over a dozen men and boys who sexually assaulted young women during New Year’s Eve festivities in Milan’s central square.
Nine women have so far come forward to say they were assaulted, and some robbed, by groups of young men while end-of-year partygoers filled the city’s Duomo plaza.
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“The young men who sexually assaulted girls in Piazza Duomo in Milan on New Year’s Eve have been identified,” said Milan police in a statement.
Searches were carried out early Tuesday in Milan and Turin against 18 men and boys, aged between 15 and 21, both Italian and foreign, police said.
Through surveillance images, witness testimony and social media tracking, police were able to piece together “three different episodes of violence” committed against nine young women that night, they said.
Among the victims were two 20-year-old German tourists, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
“We tried to push them back, my friend hit and slapped them but they were laughing and they continued to assault us. I had 15 hands on me,” one of the victims told ANSA in a January 7 news story.
Among various videos published by local media, one shows a group of men surrounding two young women who are pressed against a police barricade.
They are seen trying to shove the men away before they extricate themselves from the crowd and run toward police in riot gear at the edge of the plaza.
The incident has led news headlines for days and has fed into concerns about violence against women in Italy, where newspapers report the deaths of one or two women almost every week, usually at the hands of their current or former partner.
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