February 27, 2024

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Berlin police fear New Year's Eve riots and appeal for calm in video

Berlin police fear New Year's Eve riots and appeal for calm in video

Early last year, the district of Neukölln was engulfed in riots. Fireworks were banned in the war zone at the time – but the situation in the Middle East made security forces even more worried.

Police officers and firefighters were attacked on New Year's Eve in Berlin-Neukölln.

Julius Christian Schreiner / dpa

“I am bro,” the young policewoman says in the video, “please respect our job and don't attack us. You and two colleagues from the police and fire department give a face to Berlin's security authorities; Motion shots, fire, sirens are interspersed. Berlin police distributed the video on Wednesday on social networks such as X (formerly Twitter) and YouTube “for reasons”. Malice didn't take long to arrive. “Police officers plead on video,” wrote “Bild”. The occasion is the upcoming New Year's Day.

Berlin police are gearing up for their biggest New Year's Eve operation in decades. Instead of 1,300 extra officers like last year, this time around 2,800 extra police officers are on duty, including Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and federal police officers and 1,500 firefighters. A total of 3,000 policemen will be on security duty on New Year's Day. Last year there were violent riots and attacks on police and firemen on Sonnenallee in the Neukölln district. This year, the Sonnenalli area has been declared a no-war zone. However, buses did not run for fear of firecrackers.

Despite a violent riot, no arrests were made

Contempt and rejection of police and firefighters is widespread in immigrant communities; They are not taken seriously. The state can be partly to blame for this; It sends mixed signals. On the one hand, he wants to encourage the rioters, but on the other hand, the video clip just released reminds of an action or war film, with pathetic music. Such scenes are popular among young immigrants on TikTok. The more raw a clip is, the more users will watch it.

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A plea to “Don't attack us” is followed by the police video: “You commit a criminal offense and face years in prison.” But in reality, not a single one of those who rioted last New Year's Eve was jailed. Of the 151 cases, 75 were against unidentified persons; At least 26 verdicts were delivered. No one was taken into custody. The public prosecutor's office announced this upon request.

Last year's riots are yet to be fully dealt with. According to “Frankfurter Allgemeine”, a groundbreaking case involving a 15-year-old boy will not be heard until next year – he allegedly threw a fire extinguisher at rescue workers. Video footage of this action is available. The teenager and three others threw a fire extinguisher at the glass walls of a bus stop, destroying it, and then threw a fire extinguisher at an ambulance, shattering its glass. The young man is easy to identify because of his conspicuous clothing.

The situation in the Middle East leads to more violence in German cities

Senator Iris Spranger of the Social Democratic Berlin Interior, the police chief and in particular the Christian Democratic Party's ruling mayor Kai Wegner are being monitored to see if the situation is under control. Wegner won re-election in February with promises of law and order. Decisive action will be taken against New Year's Day riots, he told a German press agency: “We have taken all necessary precautions to ensure that the rule of law is enforced.” The security situation in Berlin has remained tense since October 7.

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Berlin had already designated fireworks-free zones in previous years, but the area in Sonnanelli was not one of them. After Hamas' attack on Israel on October 7, demonstrators gathered in the area and in Hermannplatz for pro-Palestinian demonstrations, resulting in numerous crimes and attacks on officers. Fireworks are allowed on Hermannplatz on New Year's Eve.

After last New Year's Eve, Social Democratic Mayor Franziska Giffey, still in power, launched several summits against youth violence. Gunnar Balsi, secretary and coordination officer for the district of Neukölln since 2020, described it as a “big event” in which “money was distributed with a can of water”. “We have to think: What should a school in a socially disadvantaged area look like today? What do these children need?” Balci told a German press agency.

Police are on the job with bomb dogs and helicopters

Police announced on Friday that they will apply for remand for those accused of crimes against life and limb due to pyrotechnic attacks. This means that in the days leading up to December 31st and on December 31st, most youths who engage in criminal activities are arrested and further crimes can be prevented. Detention, however, requires a greater degree of justification because it involves a deprivation of liberty.

Berlin police also threatened related individuals with hundreds of threats The Berlin outdoor pool riots or the May 1st and New Year's Eve riots last year. Through such action, the police address those suspected of committing a crime in the future and disrupting public safety.

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Police want to use explosives-sniffing dogs and helicopters to detect illegal caches of pyrotechnics. Additionally, officers from the Berlin State Criminal Police Office evaluated video and image material from social networks on New Year's Eve and the following days in order to identify possible perpetrators. Last New Year's Eve, dozens of young people boasted on various platforms about videos of pyrotechnic attacks against police and fire departments.

A number of registered rallies could create the potential for clashes in the hotspot district of New Delhi. Two anti-Israel rallies and a pro-Israel demonstration are scheduled for December 31. However, rallies may still be banned by the Berlin state assembly.