They jumped into one of the fire engines on New Year’s Eve and drove just a few blocks away to the scene. There was a burning pile of e-scooters and junk on the street, one remembers. The colleagues got out to put out the fire. Then the trap snapped shut. The firefighters say they were shot at with pyrotechnics and blank pistols and stones were thrown at them. “It was a real ambush.” Even emergency services who have been on duty in the capital for decades have never experienced anything like this, says state fire director Karsten Homrighausen on Friday. “It was a completely new dimension of attacks.”
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, Berlin’s Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey and Interior Senator Iris Spranger (all SPD) came to the station this morning to have the emergency services describe the details. And they reveal an immense extent of violence.
The authorities have now come to a total of 50 attacks against emergency services in Berlin. In 20 cases, barricades were purposefully set up to hinder operations, according to the fire brigade. 15 firefighters were injured. The politicians talked confidentially with the firefighters for almost an hour. Afterwards there is talk of a “heated debate”.
And that the riots should have consequences in the next few days. Faeser now wants to speed up the already planned tightening of gun laws and bring an amendment to the federal government’s departmental vote as early as next week. The core of the tightening should not only be a ban on semi-automatic weapons. The purchase of previously freely traded alarm pistols should also be made more difficult. Permission is required for their purchase, Faeser announced on Friday. They played a major role on New Year’s Eve and were “not a harmless instrument,” said Faeser.
However, it is unclear how far Faeser will get with her proposal within the federal government and whether it can really be implemented quickly. So far, the FDP has opposed the planned tightening of gun laws. Interior Ministry circles said on Friday with some astonishment that hunters and rifle clubs would view the tightening significantly less critically than their coalition partner. Berlin’s Senator for the Interior, Iris Spranger, who will chair the conference of interior ministers this year, announced that the plans will now also be pushed through the state interior ministers.
According to Faeser, most of the perpetrators in Neukölln were young people with a migration background
According to politicians, the young perpetrators should also feel a very quick and harsh reaction from the judiciary. The state must show that it is capable of acting, Faeser demanded. In the riots in recent years, however, the authorities have found it difficult to quickly identify and convict the perpetrators.
According to Faeser, most of the perpetrators in Neukölln were young people with a migration background. It’s not right to hide that. However, residents of the affected districts, many of whom also have a migration background, suffered the most from the riots. On Friday, emergency services also reported on the protection and help of Neukölln residents with a migration background, which they had experienced on New Year’s Eve. “The horror of the days was huge,” says one. “It doesn’t matter where the people come from.”