Tuesday 2, January
Less violence, more arrests: The fallout from New Year’s Eve
4,000 police officers on duty throughout the entire city, Sonnenallee transformed into a high-security zone with a fireworks ban and police checkpoints illuminated by mobile floodlights: This was how Berlin welcomed in 2024. The city’s usual chaotically explosive celebrations were highly but selectively policed, with particular focus on the area of north Neukölln which has been the scene of protests over the bombing of Gaza in recent months.
Ostensibly, all this police attention was to avoid the kind of violence which took place last year, when widespread rioting and attacks on emergency services personnel caused outrage in the German media. And with the extra police, came more arrests: the 400 people detained were almost four times as many as last year. But that doesn’t mean the actual violence was any greater. Despite what you’d imagine from the lecherous reporting of some elements of the German media who described the celebrations as an “imported civil war”, the total number of violent incidents were down, with a spokesman for the fire department calling it a “normal New Year’s Eve”.
But a normal New Year’s Eve in Berlin remains chaotic. While there were no injuries to staff of the emergency services, 54 police were injured and dangerous incidents were reported across the city, from Charlottenburg to Friedrichshain.