Germany condemns New Year attacks on fire and police

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. This follows 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.

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. Police said they had 18 officers injured, German news agency dpa reported.

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.”

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


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