(PresidentialHill.com)- Rioting broke out in Berlin on New Year’s Day in which 41 police officers were hurt and dozens of firefighters attacked, prompting some to blame the violence on Muslim migrants.
Berlin’s Mayor Franziska Giffey condemned the violence as “absolutely unacceptable.”
While several figures were quick to point out the migrant background of many of the youths involved in the rioting, Mayor Giffey insisted that it had nothing to do with immigration but “about what went wrong in the social flashpoints.”
Police made 145 arrests during the riots, the majority of whom were men, 45 were German while 27 were Afghans and 21 were Syrians.
The discovery that many were migrants prompted leading conservative Jens Spahn to condemn “unregulated migration” and “failed integration.”
Others were critical that the police provided a breakdown of the suspects’ nationalities as Germany’s press code expressly states that ethnic or religious background can only be reported when there is a legitimate public interest in doing so.
Integration Commissioner Reem Alabali-Radovan demanded that the suspects be judged “not according to their presumed origins,” but on their actions.
Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said while a debate should take place on the background to the riots, it should not be used to foment “racist resentment.” She told the Funke newspaper group that German cities were having a significant issue with “certain men with a migration background, who hold our state in contempt, commit acts of violence,” but can’t be reached via “education and integration programs.”
The rioting is believed to have stemmed from the temporary lifting of a ban on the sale of fireworks for the New Year. Fireworks sales were halted for two years during the pandemic to prevent hospitals from coming under further pressure. But this year, authorities permitted fireworks in Berlin from 6:00 pm on New Year’s Eve to 6:00 am on New Year’s Day.
After this year’s riots, one police union is calling for fireworks to be banned completely.