Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey plans a youth summit following violent incidents in the city on New Year’s Eve, in which 41 police officers were injured in attacks involving rockets and fireworks.
She said she invitations to young people should be sent out as soon as possible, a spokesperson for the Senate, the city’s administration, told dpa.
Berlin police have launched a total of 355 cases, with investigations under way for breach of the peace, assault on and resistance to law enforcement officers and rescue workers, dangerous bodily harm and causing an explosion.
Police and emergency workers were attacked in several cities on New Year’s Eve, with the attacks in Berlin particularly violent.
Giffey rejected criticism that the city had failed to handle the situation appropriately.
“We had the full manpower of the police and fire brigade that night, a tripling of the fire brigade’s emergency forces on the streets,” she told broadcaster rbb-Inforadio on Wednesday. “I don’t see that the police were being restricted here.”
Her comments came after Friedrich Merz, the leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), the largest opposition party at the federal level, told the Münchner Merkur newspaper that the state of Berlin was not coping with the situation. For years, he said, the Senate has been limiting the rights and deployment options of the police for political reasons.
Giffey, from the Social Democrats, the party leading the governing coalition at the federal level, countered that there had been a massive increase in the police force in recent years. “But it is also clear that here in Berlin, in a large city, we have a massive accumulation of problematic situations,” she said.
However, this is not solely a Berlin phenomenon, Giffey said. “Merz should take a look at the fact that this has also happened in other German cities.”
She also weighed in on the question of a ban on certain fireworks, a measure that has been discussed in recent days. Giffey proposed banning certain firecrackers, saying a nationwide ban on all fireworks would be impossible to enforce.