Calls for firework ban in Germany after attacks on rescue services

Fireworks sales are skyrocketing across the US as most public displays are canceled due to the coronavirus, prompting concerns among fire departments.

Share this content


Police and firefighter unions in Germany have called for a ban on personal fireworks on New Year’s Eve, supported by Olaf Scholz, Chancellor, who condemned incidents of rescue services being targeted by firecrackers and rockets.

Sale of personal use fireworks were banned for two years to avoid overburdening hospitals during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the ban has now been lifted and German cities saw the return of consumer fireworks – causing an unusually high number of injuries and some fatalities.

In Berlin, authorities reported 33 injured police officers and firefighters on more than 1,700 missions carried out on the evening of 31 December.

A teenager died on 1 January as a result of an incident a self-built catapult for firecrackers on the outskirts of the eastern German city of Leipzig. Elsewhere, a man from Saxony-Anhalt died after being hit by a car while setting off fireworks in the street.

Ralf Kusterer, the vice-president of the German Police Union, said: “What we are currently seeing in Berlin, but also in Baden-Württemberg, is that firefighters are being ambushed, that police officers are being attacked like on 1 May or at other big demonstrations.” He added: “This is a new level.”

The Police Union in Berlin called for a countrywide ban on the sale of customer fireworks. Spokesperson Benjamin Jendro told the press agency dpa: “We do not believe it is necessary for large parts of the population to light their own pyrotechnics on New Year’s Eve.”

Germany’s union of firefighters has also called for more of its vehicles to be fitted with dashcams to record attacks.

A spokesperson for Scholz on Monday condemned the assault on rescue services, while Berlin’s senator for culture backed calls for a general ban.

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox