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Rape whistles to be issued for New Year

The Local/AFP
The Local/AFP - [email protected]
Rape whistles to be issued for New Year
Portable safety product. Photo: Red Line Security

Austrian police will distribute 6,000 pocket alarms on New Year's Eve to help prevent incidents like the mass sex assaults in neighbouring Germany a year ago, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

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"It's a national campaign aimed primarily at women on New Year's Eve," ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck told AFP.

If activated, the free gadgets will emit a shrill sound aimed at chasing away potential aggressors, he added.

The ministry earlier announced it would also beef up security at public events following a deadly attack at a Christmas market in Berlin on Monday evening.

Several hundred thousand visitors are expected to ring in 2017 in Vienna, which will host an annual New Year's Eve party trail in the centre.

Police said revellers will be able to pick up their pocket alarms along the trail.

In 2015, hundreds of women were mugged and groped in a crowd of men of mainly Arab and north African appearance in the German city of Cologne on December 31.

The incidents shocked Germany and fuelled criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel's liberal refugee policy.

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