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4 Jan, 2023 17:53

German police union urges NYE fireworks ban

The civilian use of pyrotechnics has led to dozens of injuries during recent celebrations in the country, the organization claims 
German police union urges NYE fireworks ban

The German police union, GdP, has urged the government to forbid New Year’s Eve fireworks for individual use. The move was proposed this week as the country’s officials condemned dozens of attacks with pyrotechnics on rescue workers over the holiday.

The state will not tolerate that people who are celebrating peacefully and personnel who are doing their duty are attacked in this way,” Christiane Hoffmann, German federal government first deputy spokesperson, told a news conference on Monday. 

Stephan Weh, the regional head of the GdP in Berlin, had said earlier that “fireworks are being used specifically as a weapon against people,” calling for a ban on sales for all non-professionals.

Police union spokesperson Benjamin Dendro emphasized the ban would be nationwide. “We do not believe it is necessary for large parts of the population to light their own pyrotechnics on New Year’s Eve,” he told German news agency dpa. 

The GdP’s vice chair Ralf Kusterer likened the attacks to “1 May or other big demonstrations,” calling the “ambushes” and assaults “a new level.” The union has also called for more dash cams for its vehicles in order to record attacks. 

In Berlin, Mayor Franziska Giffey promised on Monday she would meet with officials to expand no-fireworks zones, telling reporters that “this scale of readiness to use violence and destruction … damages our city.

The police union reported 18 officers injured in 38 total attacks on emergency services workers, sending one officer to the hospital. In one incident, they were “massively attacked with firecrackers” upon being called to a burning vehicle, the GdP said in a tweet on Sunday.

Shops were allowed to sell small fireworks like rockets, fountains and firecrackers during the last three days of 2022, resuming sales that had been banned under Covid-19 regulations for two years.

Rescue workers weren’t the only ones to suffer from the renewed availability of the explosives, however. A man lighting fireworks in the street in Saxony-Anhalt was hit by a drunk driver and killed on Saturday night. A man from Schleiz lost his hand trying to set off an illegal explosive, while another man in Friemar had to have both his forearms amputated after a botched attempt to set off fireworks he had purchased online.

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