Violence escalated in Berlin on New Year’s Eve.
The New Year’s Eve riots in Berlin are causing horror across the country’s borders. Hundreds of perpetrators vented their anger against the state and the system on New Year’s Eve. Police officers were attacked with firecrackers and rockets, fire extinguishers were thrown at ambulances, bottles and iron bars were thrown through the air.
Several police officers and rescue workers were injured. Emergency services are repeatedly targeted, insulted and attacked – also in Switzerland. For example, at the Zürcher Letten on August 1st last year. When the city police tried to break up an illegal party, bottles, bicycles and firecrackers were thrown at them.
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Johanna Bundi Ryser (59), President of the Association of Swiss Police Officers (VSPB), is all the more concerned when she sees the pictures from Berlin. “Such attacks can also happen in Switzerland,” she says to Blick. In general, she and her colleagues are becoming the target of attacks more and more often. “Especially in 2021 there were more attacks. The numbers have risen sharply,” says Bundi Ryser.
“Anyone who is dissatisfied takes it out on the police”
A look at the police crime statistics shows how much the cases have increased. While the number of registered crimes in the field of violence/threats against officials was 2519 in 2011, there were 3557 cases in the year before last. More than 1000 cases more.
According to Bundi Ryser, there are many factors behind the attacks: “Respect for the police has decreased, especially in urban centers, and the police officers are getting the anger of the citizens.”
The emergency services would act as lightning rods as they embody the state. “Anyone who is dissatisfied with politics and the government takes it out on the police. Alcohol and drugs are often added, which have a disinhibiting effect.”
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“Such attacks can quickly arise out of nowhere”
Although the police always try to de-escalate, they don’t always succeed. In particular, big events such as football games, May 1st or New Year’s Eve are dangerous because many people come together. “Such attacks can also quickly arise out of nowhere. When a mob is ganged up and ready to riot, you almost don’t stand a chance.”
The police officers suffer. The helmets, vests and shields would not be of much use to protect against such attacks.
Two days later, the President of the Police Officers Association is still concerned about the excesses of violence in Berlin. It’s heartbreaking to hear that colleagues have been hurt. At the same time, it also makes you angry. «The police are not the enemy, not the opponent. We come to help.”