(VitalNews.org) – In Berlin, Germany, the 2022 New Year’s Eve celebrations descended into violence and chaos as people set fire to emergency vehicles, shot at police officers, and even threw fireworks at firefighters trying to extinguish fires in residential buildings and garbage cans on the street. According to the capital’s police, a grand total of 3,943 incidents were reported over the course of December 31. In the course of their duties, 15 firefighters and 47 police officers suffered injuries.
Following the night of destruction, 145 arrests were made. Of these 145 individuals, only 45 were German citizens, although it is unclear if any of them were dual nationals who had migrated to Germany from elsewhere. According to the public prosecutor’s office, 153 cases have been filed relating to the night’s violence, 89 of those with a specified suspect, the remainder with unknown perpetrators.
The charges included criminal damage, physical assault against officials, and arson, but despite the gravity of the charges, not one person has yet received a prison sentence. While 15 cases remain ongoing, and could potentially see prison time for the perpetrators, 26 cases have already received final judgements, none of which involved custodial sentencing, but instead involved measures such as a suspended sentence or fine. A further 91 cases have been closed due to the lack of a suspect – either through authorities being unable to identify the suspect, or through the suspect absconding.
As Berlin readies itself for its 2023 New Year’s Eve celebrations, local authorities are worried about similar criminal acts being committed, with 3,000 police officers being prepared for deployment to the streets to try to keep order. The emergency services have received training from the Red Cross in conflict de-escalation, and officers will wear bodycams in order to accurately document any clashes. Barbara Slowik, Berlin police commissioner, has warned that violence is expected due to “conflict in the Middle East”, which authorities believe will inspire further tension and clashes across the German capital.
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