Friday 29, December
Berlin declares state of emergency ahead of New Year’s Eve fireworks
With just a few days to go before New Year’s Eve, Berlin police and fire brigade workers have appealed to residents in a video released online yesterday. Emergency workers implored residents not to attack them with pyrotechnics, warning viewers: “Do not shoot us with firecrackers, rockets or blank guns. You are committing a criminal offence and face several years in prison.”
Last year, a number of incidents in Berlin caused nationwide outrage when, according to Berlin Police Chief Barbara Slowik, rescue workers were deliberately lured into suspected ambushes. This time around, the city will see its largest New Year’s Eve police operation in decades, with up to 2,500 officers, including plainclothes police, on duty.
According to the Berlin fire department, a state of emergency will be officially declared on December 31st at 7pm. This will see an increase in staff, the establishment of extra volunteer fire departments, and even the involvement of military personnel. But for the German Fire Brigade Union, it’s all too little too late. According to a spokesperson from the union, the new security measures haven’t been practised enough and many fire bridge workers, including those at the Neukölln fire station, are yet to be briefed.