BERLIN (Dispatches) -- Reports of a mass sexual assault by refugees in Frankfurt on New Years Eve were fabricated according to German police.
The right-wing newspaper Bild reported last week that 900 drunk refugees had been involved in the mass sex attack and quoted a number of witnesses and victims' testimony.
"I can be happy that I wore sheer tights. They (the refugees) grabbed me under the skirt, between my legs, my breasts, everywhere," one alleged victim, Irina, was quoted as saying.
Another witness, a local pub owner, said that his pub had been "full with a group of around 50 Arabs."
"They did not speak German, drank our guests’ drink and danced towards them. The women asked me for help because they were being attacked. The mood changed completely.”
The quotes were also used in the right-wing British tabloid Daily Express.
However, on Wednesday German police said that the accusations were "without foundation” and that they were investigating those who had made the alleged comments.
"The interrogations of the witnesses, guests, and staff have created considerable doubts about the portrayal of events," the police told the press.
"A person allegedly affected by the actions was not in the city at all when the crime occurred."
Following this, Bild removed the story from their website and their online editor-in-chief apologized for running it.
Fears over the influx of migrants and refugees into Europe have led to the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment in Germany and seen a rise in poll numbers for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
However, the AfD's popularity took a knock after comments by the party's Thuringia state chairman in which he referred to the Berlin Holocaust Memorial as a "monument of shame", leading to his expulsion
The party, which was originally founded in 2013 on an anti-euro platform, shifted geared to rail against immigrants after 2015's mass influx of refugees from Syria.
It is setting its sights on winning its first seats in national parliament in general elections on 24 September.
Campaigning for the Dutch election began Wednesday with anti-Islam leader Geert Wilders front-runner in a vote that will test the anti-establishment sentiment that swept Britain out of the European Union and Donald Trump into the U.S. presidency.
Wilders, a euroskeptic, anti-immigration fan of Trump, has dubbed the March 15 parliamentary election the start of a "Patriotic Spring" in Europe, where French and German voters go to the polls in May and September.
Wilders and his Party for Freedom has led in opinion polls for most of the past two years, but the fragmented political landscape means a coalition government of four or more parties is all but inevitable.
Wilders' party is expected to get 20% of the popular vote. A simple majority is generally sought to govern, but all but one party have ruled out sharing power with Wilders, whose policies are seen by many as offensive and sometimes unconstitutional.
There are 31 parties competing for votes, with 14 likely to win at least one seat in the 150-member parliament. The next three largest parties command no more than 10 or 11 percent of the vote each.
"The overwhelming majority of Dutchmen basically do not vote for (Wilders)," said Kristof Jacobs, a teacher at Radbout University in Nijmegen.
So a victory for Wilders is unlikely to lead to the Netherlands leaving the European Union, closing the border to Muslim immigrants or reinstating the Dutch currency, policies only his party endorses.
In December, Wilders was convicted of inciting discrimination for leading supporters in a chant that they wanted "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" Moroccans in the country.
A study published by the Social Affairs Ministry on Tuesday found that up to 40% of the Turks and Moroccans in the Netherlands do not feel they belong or are accepted.
The Netherlands, a country of 17 million that relies heavily on foreign trade, in 2005 rejected the European constitution and last year voted down a treaty for closer EU ties with Ukraine.
A poll by Motivaction on Tuesday showed more than 61% of respondents see Dutch politicians as "elitist, unreliable and dishonest."
Around 37% of likely voters said they hadn't decided who to vote for.
"I find it difficult to make a decision," said Renee Keijzer, from the town of Volendam. "So much has happened in the world that it is hard to position yourself properly."