Five arrests after sexual harassment at Wels Volksfest

Five arrests after sexual harassment at Wels Volksfest
Attractions at the Wels Voksfest. Photo:
Police in Upper Austria have detained five young asylum seekers from Afghanistan over accusations they sexually harassed women during a wine and beer festival in the city of Wels over the weekend.

The mayor of Wels has demanded “zero tolerance” in the wake of the alleged incidents.

Eight women have so far made official complaints to the police, saying that they were groped and sexually harassed on Saturday. Police have since arrested five young men aged between 15 and 22, and are still looking for another suspect.

Police are calling on witnesses and any further victims to contact them.

Die Presse newspaper reports that the youngest suspect, aged 15, was identified by one of the victims and accused of sexually harassing her. The incidents reportedly happened in a packed party tent during the Wels Volksfest. The eight women told the police the men grabbed them and groped them between the legs.

At least three women immediately filed complaints with the police. Reacting to the news, the mayor of Wels Andreas Rabl demanded “zero tolerance” for such cases and “full consequences for the perpetrators” in a post on his Facebook page.

The organizers of Wels’s Volksfest – which continues until September 11th – issued an apology in the wake of Saturday’s assaults, saying that it had increased security and that its guests' safety remained a top priority.

Any further victims or witnesses from the Wels Volksfest are being asked to call the police on 059133-473333.