The German government Monday condemned incidents on New Year’s Eve in which police officers and firefighters were attacked, mostly with fireworks.
People across Germany on Saturday resumed their tradition of setting off large numbers of fireworks in public places to ring in the new year. That followed two years in which sales of fireworks were banned as part of efforts to avoid overloading hospitals and discourage large public gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The celebrations were accompanied by a large number of cases in which emergency officials were assailed 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 news agency dpa reported.
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said that “this scale of readiness to use violence and destruction … damages our city.” She tweeted that her administration will discuss expanding the number of areas in which fireworks are banned.
German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who thanked police for intervening with more than 100 arrests in Berlin alone, said that “the perpetrators must now feel the legal consequences clearly.”
Government spokeswoman Christiane Hoffmann said Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his administration “of course condemn in the strongest terms these, in some cases, massive assaults.”