Police officers and firefighters in Germany were pelted with fireworks in multiple incidents on New Year’s Eve, with several injuries, prompting condemnation from the country’s government. People across Germany on Saturday resumed their tradition of setting off large numbers of fireworks in public places to see in the new year.
For the last two years, sales of fireworks were banned in Germany as part of efforts to avoid overloading hospitals and discourage large public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Celebrations were accompanied by a large number of cases in which emergency officials were assaulted with fireworks.
In Berlin, the fire service counted at least 38 such attacks and said 15 officers were injured.
Police said they had 18 injured officers.
German newspaper Deutsche Welle claimed at least 33 police and firefighters were hurt in Berlin alone.
Meanwhile police in Bavaria described it as the “most intense” celebrations in recent memory.
In Hamburg, officers spoke of being “aggressively approached” and “literally shot at” with the explosives.
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Government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his administration “of course condemn in the strongest terms these, in some cases, massive assaults.”
Lars Wieg, chairman of the police union for Berlin and Brandenberg, said: “It is unimaginable what our emergency forces had to experience on this New Year’s.”
Karl-Heinz Banse Germany’s national firefighters’ union president, said: “We don’t need tougher penalties. I just want these penalties to be enforced.
“It cannot be that our people are endangered, almost run over, and afterwards it’s presented as a petty offense.”
(More to follow)