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Germany: Revelers enjoy largely peaceful New Year’s festivities
Germany rang in 2018 relatively peacefully amid heightened security and measures to protect women from sexual harassment. However, some clashes with police, firework deaths and harassment incidents were reported.
Revelers in Germany kicked off 2018 amid mild temperatures with loads of fireworks, street parties and outdoor concerts. Despite tight security across the country, there were some isolated reports of violence, harassment and pyrotechnic accidents. DW breaks down what happened during the largely calm — but certainly not quiet — festivities.
Police in the eastern city of Leipzig said on Monday they used water cannon to subdue over 40 partygoers who began to attack the officers and their vehicles with rocks and fireworks.
The crowd first set fire to several dumpsters in the street and became angry when authorities moved in to put out fires.
In the western city of Dusseldorf, police said an unknown driver intentionally steered his car into guests and bouncers at a club. Authorities believe the man was in the club before the incident and that he’d argued with guests there.
Germany has been on high alert since a Tunisian asylum-seeker drove a truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, killing 12 people.
German authorities were particularly concerned about protecting women from sexual abuse followingthe mass New Year’s Eve harassment that occurred in Cologne two years ago.
Police in Berlin said that there were 13 reports of sexual harassment and that seven suspects in the cases were detained.
“As always, there was a lot going on in the city,” police wrote on Twitter, noting that they’d fielded 3,084 emergency calls.
Six police officers were injured in the Schöneberg district by groups of people who threw firecrackers and glass bottles at them.
In Cologne, police reported at least nine cases of “sexual offenses” and were able to detain suspects in three of the incidents.
In the southern city of Munich, police said there no cases of sexual harassment or assault reported on New Year’s Eve, but a police spokesperson told news agency DPA “that such cases are often only reported one or two days later.”
Authorities in Germany sought to prevent a repeat of the New Year’s celebrations two years ago in Cologne where hundreds of women were groped, harassed and sexually assaulted by groups of men near the city’s main train station. Among those accused of carrying out the assaults were migrants.
Read more: Cologne police’s New Year’s Eve security tactics spark political debate in Germany
Deaths and injuries from fireworks
Firecrackers left two people dead in the eastern state of Brandenburg. A 35-year-old man and a 19-year-old were killed after their firecrackers exploded in their faces.
An 11-year-old boy in the same region suffered severe facial injuries from a high-explosive so-called “Polish rocket.” Another 14-year-old girl in the eastern state of Thuringia could possibly lose her sight after an exploding firecracker was thrown into a crowd of people where she was standing.
A total of 21 people overall suffered injuries from fireworks in Berlin, five of whom had to have their fingers or hands amputated, an emergency hospital in the capital said.
In one neighborhood in the western city of Bonn, several people were caught on camera shooting fireworks at people on the street from their car. The minute-long video (embedded above) shows pedestrians fleeing from fireworks being shot at them from a red car in the center of the Tannenbusch district of Bonn.
The video spread widely on Monday, although SSIO — a local rapper who filmed the incident — said it occurred on Friday. Bonn police have said they are investigating the video.