Germany is mourning the loss of a 23-year-old student who was murdered after helping two teenage girls being harassed by a group of men.
Tugce Albayrak intervened when she heard "cries for help from the toilet of a fast food restaurant" in the city of Offenbach on Nov. 15.
Although it’s unclear how she sustained the fatal injuries, some reports suggest one of the men involved in the harassment attacked her with a "a stone or bat.” As a result of the blows to her head, Albayrak suffered a traumatic brain injury and later fell into a coma.
After doctors told her parents that she would never regain consciousness, Albayrak's parents removed her life support systems on Friday evening – on her 23rd birthday.
The incident has sparked outrage in Germany where hundreds of people joined silent vigils, demanding the government award Albayrak the country’s national Order of Merit.
The tragic incident has set off a scorching debate on bystanders getting involved in defending victims of harassment.
#TugceAlbayrak 'just say no' 'ignore' 'it's harmless banter' Tell me again why we don't need feminism when women r killed for standing up— cool story, bro (@anygirlfriday) November 30, 2014
A petition with 100,000 signatures has been sent to Germany’s president, Joachim Gauck, urging him to award Albayrak the national order of merit posthumously.
"Like countless citizens, I am shocked and appalled by this terrible act. Tugce has earned gratitude and respect from us all," said German President Joachim Gauck in a letter to the Albayrak family. "She will always remain a role model to us, our entire country mourns with you. Where other people looked the other way, Tugce showed exemplary courage and moral fortitude."
German newspaper Bild has received CCTV footage that it says shows Albayrak being attacked in the car park. An 18-year-old Serbian man is in police custody and has reportedly confessed to brutally attacking Albayrak.