German police subjected to ‘massive assault’ with fireworks in New York


BERLIN — The German government on Monday condemned New Year’s Eve incidents in which police and firefighters were attacked, mostly with fireworks.

People across Germany resumed their tradition of setting off large numbers of fireworks in public places on Saturday to see off the New Year.

It followed two years in which fireworks sales were banned as part of efforts to avoid overburdening hospitals and discouraging large public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic – but the celebration does not was not without incident, with several instances of violent disturbances and a reveler being run over and killed by a drunk driver while shooting fireworks down the street, according to local reports.

01 January 2023, Saxony, Leipzig: An armored police vehicle clears barricades. On the night of New Year’s Day, there were clashes between rioters and law enforcement in the Connewitz neighborhood. (Photo by Sebastian Willnow/picture alliance via Getty Images)

The celebrations were accompanied by a large number of instances in which emergency workers were assailed by fireworks. In Berlin, firefighters counted at least 38 such attacks and said 15 officers were injured, and released an image of a fire truck on social networks which they said was so badly damaged that it had to be decommissioned.

Police said they had 18 officers injured, German news agency dpa reported. German police union (GdP) leader Stephan Weh said on the morning of January 1 that “all over Germany fireworks are used specifically as a weapon against people” and called for discussion sales bans.

Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said “this scale of willingness to use violence and destruction…is damaging our city.” She tweeted that her administration would discuss increasing the number of areas in which fireworks are prohibited.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who thanked police for intervening with more than 100 arrests in Berlin alone, said “the perpetrators must now clearly feel the legal consequences.”

Shopping cart with burning items on an intersection. On the night of New Year’s Day, there were clashes between rioters and law enforcement in the Connewitz neighborhood. (Photo by Sebastian Willnow/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his administration “of course condemn in the strongest terms these massive attacks, in some cases”.

Members of the public were also the target of attacks, the police describe an incident in which a bus and people on the street were the target of fireworks.

A police water cannon puts out fire on a barricade. On the night of New Year’s Day, there were clashes between rioters and law enforcement in the Connewitz neighborhood. (Photo by Sebastian Willnow/picture alliance via Getty Images)

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