Excerpt:

Amid widespread shock over a string of sexual assaults in this cosmopolitan German city on New Year's Eve, the response was divided Wednesday: blame the police or chide the victims, deport criminal foreigners or prevent migrants from entering the country in the first place.

The reaction in Cologne reflects a broader debate as Germany struggles to reconcile law and order with its new-found role as a haven for those seeking a better life.

Police descriptions of the perpetrators as of "Arab or North African origin" were seized on by those calling for an end to Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy toward people fleeing violence and persecution — even as authorities warned they don't know if any of the culprits are refugees.


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