2 die from fireworks in Germany, no repeat of mass groping
By DAVID McHUGH
Jan. 01, 2018
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Two people have died from fireworks injuries during New Year celebrations in Germany, but the country avoided a repeat of the mass groping in Cologne two years ago amid heightened security and efforts to protect women from sexual harassment.
In the Brandenburg region outside Berlin, police said Monday that a 35-year-old man died after igniting fireworks, and a 19-year-old suffered fatal head injuries after he set off a homemade device.
Multiple fireworks injuries also were reported across the country.
Police in Cologne said there were seven cases of sexual harassment, while Berlin police reported 13 and seven arrests as several hundred thousand people celebrated at the city's Brandenburg Gate.
Police sought to prevent a repeat of the incident two years ago in Cologne when hundreds of women were groped and robbed, mostly by groups of migrants. There were also concerns about possible terror attacks in the wake of the attack on Dec. 19, 2016 in which an asylum seeker drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market and killed 12 people.
Police barred large bags from barricaded-off pedestrian party areas in Berlin and Frankfurt.
Other fireworks incidents included serious eye injuries to a 14-year-old girl after fireworks were thrown at a group of people in the town of Triptis in the Thuringia region in the east, the dpa news agency reported.
Hand surgeons at Berlin's trauma hospital worked continuously in three operating rooms through the night treating 21 people, including five with amputation injuries, dpa reported.
Six officers in Berlin suffered temporary hearing loss when a firework was thrown at them during the arrest of a suspect. The 22-year-old man was believed to have thrown a firecracker that blew a hole in a police car's rear windshield.
Police said they also arrested a 16-year-old girl after she repeatedly threw fireworks at police and confiscated 44 illegal pyrotechnic devices they found in her possession.
Police in Leipzig turned water cannon on a group of up to 50 disorderly people who threw firecrackers at them.