New Year's Eve: Exuberant New Year's Eve celebrations and serious incidents

People all over Germany welcomed the New Year.

New Year's Eve: Exuberant New Year's Eve celebrations and serious incidents

People all over Germany welcomed the New Year. Millions celebrated peacefully and exuberantly - but there were also serious incidents on New Year's Eve. In Koblenz, an 18-year-old died when a firecracker exploded. In Berlin in particular, the police had to go out on numerous operations before midnight; the emergency services were particularly tense about the turn of the year.

Berlin's governing mayor Kai Wegner announced on Sunday evening that he would take tough action against riots. “Today is the night, if it is necessary, the night of repression where the rule of law will try to assert itself,” said the CDU politician while visiting a police station in Berlin-Neukölln. On New Year's Eve a year ago there were riots and attacks on police and rescue workers across the country, with Berlin particularly affected.

Firecrackers, Molotov cocktails, arrests

Hours before midnight there was an incident near Alexanderplatz in Berlin-Mitte with hundreds of people involved. According to the police, firecrackers were thrown from a group of around 500 people. The police said on the online platform X (formerly Twitter) that the group was dispersed at the Neptune Fountain and checked for fireworks. “Our emergency services were bombarded with pyrotechnics from a group of around 200 people who were at the town hall passages,” it continued.

In Neukölln, police caught several people making eleven Molotov cocktails out of gasoline and glass bottles. Nine suspects were arrested, it was said on Monday night. There have been at least 230 preliminary arrests in Berlin so far, a police spokeswoman said around 2 a.m. on New Year's Day.

More suspects in custody after Cologne terror alarm

Because of the suspected planned terrorist attack at Cologne Cathedral, the security forces there were particularly vigilant. The police chief said at a press conference on Sunday that the allegedly planned attack was intended to be carried out with a car. It turned out that the Tajik, who was taken into custody on Christmas Eve, was part of a larger network. North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) said that the approximately 1,000 police officers who were deployed around the cathedral on New Year's Eve were doing everything they could to ensure the safety of those celebrating. The police had received information about a planned Islamist attack on Cologne Cathedral on New Year's Eve. Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki then celebrated the well-attended New Year's Eve mass in the evening under heavy police protection. According to police reports, things initially remained quiet around the cathedral in the evening.

Restraint in flood areas

For many people in the flood areas, this time the New Year's Eve party literally fell through. The Interior Minister of the hard-hit state of Lower Saxony, Daniela Behrens, called for New Year's Eve fireworks to be used with caution due to the tense flood situation. The fire brigades and rescue services are busy enough, said the SPD politician in Verden.

Australia, China, South Korea already have 2024

In many parts of the world, 2024 began hours before midnight in Germany. In Sydney, a mega light show lit up the sky against the world-famous backdrop of the Harbor Bridge and Opera House at 2 p.m. CET. By the German evening it was already 2024 in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, China, India and Dubai.

Serious accidents involving private fireworks

Despite all the warnings, serious accidents involving fireworks occurred again. In one case in Koblenz it even ended fatally: an 18-year-old died on Sunday evening when he set off a firecracker, the police said. The young man died as a result of the explosion despite resuscitation. The investigation into the circumstances was ongoing. The police initially did not want to provide any further information about the incident in the Rübenach district. The police once again called for caution when handling fireworks.

The Berlin police said a 40-year-old lost a hand when setting off a signal rocket in the Kaulsdorf district. Immediately after ignition, the rocket exploded in his hand. During a search, additional pyrotechnics were found on him and confiscated.

After years of Corona break, fireworks are back in Berlin

In front of the Brandenburg Gate in the capital, tens of thousands celebrated the new year at the traditional New Year's Eve party. For the first time since the corona pandemic there were fireworks. Around 45,000 visitors came to the ZDF New Year's Eve party despite intermittent rain and high security precautions. According to the organizers, the festival mile between the Brandenburg Gate and the Victory Column was designed for 65,000 people. ZDF broadcast the party live again as a show called “Welcome 2024”. Ayliva, Luca Hänni and Roy Bianco provided the atmosphere

Tens of thousands on the streets in Hamburg and Frankfurt

In Hamburg, too, tens of thousands started the new year 2024 with big fireworks and parties. People crowded together to watch the New Year's Eve fireworks at the landing stages. Around 8,000 visitors came there alone, a police spokesman said shortly after midnight. There were 10,000 to 15,000 people at the Reeperbahn, but more were still coming. There were also celebrations in downtown Frankfurt - initially peaceful, according to the police. Of course, firecrackers and rockets were fired into crowds again, a police spokesman said early on Monday morning. The officials took consistent action against this.

Whole globe only on January 1st. at 1 p.m. in the New Year

In total, it takes 26 hours for the entire globe to enter the New Year. American Samoa, located just 220 kilometers east of Samoa on the other side of the International Date Line, will be the last country - twelve hours after Germany. At 1:00 p.m. CET on January 1st, only two uninhabited islands will follow.

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