FXStreet (Mumbai) - This is definitely not how Germany had hoped to start a new year. In the wake of rising number of criminal complaints filed after the events on New Year's Eve in Cologne, Angela Merkel’s open-door migrant policy has come under criticism. Attackers, mostly men first assembled in Cologne's central train station and then dispersed into small groups that went on to molest and rob women. Similar attacks were also reported in Hamburg and in Stuttgart on New Year's Eve. While in Bielefeld, attackers tried forcefully enter night clubs. Cases of assault on women in Cologne and other German cities on 31 December have sent shock waves across the country. The number of criminal complaints has risen to 516 and 40 per cent of this is related to sexual assault allegations. The anti-migrant protests that gripped Cologne has drawn attention from all quarters. It must be noted here that Germany received around 1.1 million asylum seekers in 2015. Protest broke out in Cologne. Demonstrations mostly took place around the train station where the assaults took place. The anti-Islam PEGIDA’s supporters threw bottles and firecrackers during a march in Cologne on Saturday. Police had to deploy water cannons to disperse demonstrators who threw bottles and fireworks. Ludwig Flocken, a Hamburg AfD politician said: "All Muslim immigration must stop . . . We cannot integrate Islamist fascists." Six Pakistanis were attacked on Sunday evening by a group of twenty people. A Syrian man was also reported to have suffered injury when attacked by five people. German authorities stepped in to investigate if criminal activities in Cologne had links to crimes in other cities. Investigation mainly centres around the asylum-seekers or illegal migrants from North Africa, police said. One 19-year-old Moroccan man has already been arrested. The Cologne police chief’s description of the assailants as "Arab or North African" in appearance has resulted in a broader debate over migrants, and Germany's open-door policy to asylum seekers. Justice Minister Heiko Maas is convinced the attacks were pre-arranged. He has warned that attackers identified as migrants in Cologne were members of an organised crime network. Merkel said she wants offenders "must feel the full force of the law". She also has put forth a proposal that make it easier for Germany to send back migrants who commit crimes. However, this proposal needs to be first cleared by the parliament before being put into practise. Several officials have however asked public not to assume migrants or asylum-seekers were responsible for the attacks based on the description of attackers alone. The Cologne Refugee Council Director argued that Germans of North African descent, or the children of guest workers also fit descriptions of appearances as provided by witnesses. The fact that many of the current suspects are actually the asylum seekers have however confirmed fears the public at large. The attacks have prompted Germans to question Mekel’s policy to welcoming refugees and migrants. Further, authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia acknowledged that man who was shot dead as he tried to enter Paris police station last week was an asylum-seeker had seven identities who lived in Germany. The Paris attacker is believed to have an apartment in an accommodation centre for asylum seekers in north of Cologne. This fact will likely further fuel the anti-immigrant protests. It will also wreck confidence that the Germans have put in Merkel’s administration. This is one cause which will be picked up by the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party to show Merkel in poor light in their campaigns before the upcoming state elections. Merkel has already received flak as she refused to limit entry of refugees into the country. Her diminishing popularity will remain a concern for her party ahead of the elections. State broadcaster ARD’s survey notes the fall in the percentage of people who support Merkle’s immigrant policies- only 58 per cent of the people surveyed said they were happy with Merkel’s policies in immigration, down from April’s 75 per cent. Almost three quarters of those surveyed feel migration will be the most important issue the government will have to deal with this year. For more information, read our latest forex news.