At New Year’s Eve celebrations in Dortmund a mob of more than 1,000 men chanted ‘Allahu Akhbar’, launched fireworks at police, and set fire to a historic church.
Already by 7 pm a man was hospitalised with first-degree burns to his face and hands after fireworks were hurled at a group of homeless people outside the city’s main train station. More than two dozen people were injured at festivities in Dortmund, some seriously.
The events of the night were described as “quiet” by police in a statement, and as “normal” by a spokesman for the city government.
But at 11:30pm police announced they were adding to their already much larger than usual presence in the city centre for New Year, sending in further reinforcements of officers.
This came after the force reported there being a “large number of young men from North Africa” in town, with federal police officer Volker Stall noting there was an “aggressive mood” towards the public and police.
At midnight, the situation threatened to escalate. A livewire published by the Ruhr Nachrichten reported that a crowd of “at least 1,000 young men” began throwing fireworks into crowds of visitors, which also included families with children. Asked by officers to stop, the mob turned to pelt fireworks at police instead.
Despite the prohibition of lighting pyrotechnics near churches, firemen had to intervene after fireworks were launched at St Reinolds, Germany’s oldest church, setting the roof alight.