New Year’s Eve with Corona: Germany starts the new year more calmly – with a few exceptions, demo in Offenbach

  • Daniela Deeg

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2020 is done. The people greet the new year. In many places, New Year’s Eve is different than usual due to Corona, especially quieter – with a few exceptions.

  • Germany has an unusually calm New Years Eve experienced.
  • Because of the Corona-Pandemie parties and New Year’s fireworks were largely prohibited.
  • Occasionally they had to police move in to break up celebrating groups of people. In Offenbach, 50 people demonstrated against the Corona measures.

Update from 1/1/2021, 9:39 a.m.: New Year’s Eve with Corona was mostly calm in Germany. In many places the streets were empty. But there were exceptions. So found in Offenbach am Main (Hessen) a demonstration against the Corona measures instead, reports *. According to the police, around 50 people had gathered on Berliner Strasse and then roamed the city center together. The motto of the officially registered event was “Quick termination of the corona measures”. The city approved the demonstration subject to conditions. When asked on New Year’s morning (01/01/2021), the police could not answer what conditions the participants had to comply with and whether these were actually observed.

New Year’s Eve with Corona: Germany starts the new year more calmly – with a few exceptions

First report from Friday, January 1st, 2021 at 6.41 a.m .: Berlin – In the hope of an end to the Corona-Pandemie people all over the world have welcomed the year 2021. In Germany many streets looked like they had been swept empty, there were fewer people on the road than usual New Year’s Eve. But despite the sales ban, there were fireworks in the sky. Larger incidents were initially hardly reported – however, a supermarket in Berlin with fireworks in it burned out and kept dozens of emergency services on their toes.

New Year’s Eve in Frankfurt: Little going on on the streets.

© Boris Roessler, dpa

The biggest New Year’s Eve party in Germany and the fireworks at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin had been canceled due to the current lockdown. Private celebrations were only allowed on a small scale nationwide. In addition, there was a general ban on the sale of fireworks before New Year’s Eve – above all to avoid typical injuries and thus relieve the hospitals. Most of it succeeded, but not everywhere. A 63-year-old man in Brandenburg handled an illegal firecracker and lost his hand when it caught fire. In general, numerous firecrackers and rockets cracked in many cities despite the sales ban – especially in Berlin. As elsewhere, the police still spoke of an unusually quiet New Year’s Eve – with one major exception.

Corona New Year’s Eve in Germany: In Berlin, a supermarket went up in flames

In Berlin-Buckow An approximately 800 square meter supermarket went up in flames and partly collapsed. Fireworks appeared to have been stored in part of the building, which exploded and flew through the area, a fire department spokesman described. The approximately 100 emergency services that had arrived could only fight the flames from outside. People are not in danger, it said. According to initial findings, nobody was injured.

New Year’s Eve in Berlin with Corona. Police cars are parked on the Warschauer Brücke, which is one of the firecrackers ban zones over New Year’s Eve

© Christophe Gateau, dpa

The emergency services also had plenty to do in Leipzig, where seven Bundeswehr jeeps burned out on the site of a car dealership. The police assumed arson. In Essen around 30 young people set fire to garbage cans and then threw firefighters on the approaching fire brigade massively, as a police spokesman said. Police officers hurrying to reinforce were also thrown with fireworks. The officers finally arrested a 16-year-old, none of the emergency services was injured.

This is how Corona New Year’s Eve went in Germany

In Berlin, but also elsewhere, the police had to repeatedly break up smaller groups of people. More than 80 rule breakers were temporarily detained there for violating the Infection Protection Act, a spokesman said. At least three officers were therefore slightly injured in action, but were able to continue the service. Police spokeswoman Patricia Brämer found words of praise. “We would like to thank the many Berliners who have adhered to the regulations.” Most Berliners celebrated the New Year in a small group. The measures met with understanding from many. Some, like 49-year-old Stefan, who was walking with a friend in Neukölln, even thought it was “very good that there is less shooting”. Two 25-year-old women were also able to “fully understand” the ban, but were also a little happy about the civil disobedience they saw on the street.

New Year’s Eve was also comparatively quiet in Munich. Police officers and security staff of the MVG stand on the otherwise deserted Marienplatz in the center of the city.

© Sven Hoppe, dpa

At the Brandenburg Gate there was an unusual emptiness. ZDF broadcast its traditional New Year’s Eve show live, but without an audience on site, the applause came from the tape. TV viewers could apply to be shown on video in the program “Willkommen 2021”. Álvaro Soler, Vicky Leandros and Jürgen Drews appeared in the show program with their daughter Joelina. Thomas Gottschalk greeted me from Baden-Baden via video switch.

In Frankfurt am Main In Hesse, the police had to move out to the Bornheim district at night, where fireworks were set off.

Corona New Year’s Eve: How was it celebrated in Germany?

And how else was celebrated in Germany? Tends to be calm. “No comparison with previous years,” said a police spokesman in Mainz. Something similar could be heard from Munich, Bremen, Lower Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Downtown Düsseldorf, where firecrackers were prohibited, was deserted until shortly before midnight. From Hamburg it was said from the location service that officials had occasionally collected fireworks, but the streets were initially very empty. The situation was different in the Upper Palatinate, where the police went to around 30 missions on New Year’s Eve because of possible violations of the infection control measures and broke up several New Year’s parties. Complaints about disturbance of the peace made people there aware of celebrations with many households and violations of the exit restrictions, it said. In Stuttgart, too, there were repeated violations of the conditions in five approved demonstrations against the corona policy of the federal and state government of Baden-Württemberg with hundreds of participants.

Overall, however, the picture in German cities was more reminiscent of the TV New Year’s Eve classic “Dinner for One”, in which two people get drunk with friends who are not even there. Some cooked fondue for two, others ordered the gourmet menu from the restaurant to take home or met the family in a champagne mood for a video conference.

New Year’s Eve worldwide: The celebrations were more reserved than usual everywhere

In many countries around the world, New Year’s Eve celebrations were more restrained than usual due to the corona pandemic. Night curfews were not only in place in Italy and France. Many parties and fireworks have been canceled, including festivities in Amsterdam, London and Rio de Janeiro.

In the Italian city of Bergamo, which had a particularly high number of deaths in the first Corona wave in spring, some did not feel like celebrating. However, those responsible there organized a special event with TV recording to symbolically burn the corona virus – or rather the whole of 2020, as it was called.

In Greece, the turn of the year was celebrated nationwide with huge fireworks – there was far more roaring than before. The media reported “one of the most spectacular pyrotechnic shows of all time”. Fireworks on New Year’s Eve are by no means as common in Greece as in Germany. Because this year there was an exit ban, cities outbid each other in terms of pyrotechnics. While the famous Parisian fireworks had to be canceled this year due to the corona pandemic, electro enthusiasts got their money’s worth. Two stars staged shows against the backdrop of Parisian landmarks: Electropop pioneer Jean Michel Jarre (72) ushered in the new year in a virtual Notre Dame Cathedral, and electronic DJ David Guetta (53) delighted his fans with a recorded music show in front of the Louvre.

In many countries, the new year started much earlier: The South Sea islands of Samoa and Kiribati were the first in the world – already at 11 a.m. Central European time – to slip into the new year. The New Year mood there was also subdued due to Corona. An hour later, the fireworks shot up in New Zealand. In contrast to many other countries, the island nation in the South Pacific has not recorded any local corona cases for more than a month. Therefore, music festivals and fireworks shows were held with no limits on the number of visitors or other restrictions. This time no spectators were allowed to watch the fireworks at the Sydney Harbor and Opera House in Australia.

New Year’s Eve: fireworks and laser show in Dubai

Dubai welcomed the New Year with colorful fireworks and a laser show on the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa. Despite the Corona curfew, there were large fireworks at the Kremlin in Moscow.

In other countries, people have to be patient a little longer – also in the different time zones of the USA: New York can only welcome the New Year at 6:00 am CET with the “Ball Drop” in Times Square, with a shining crystal ball on a pole is lowered – but this time in front of a few onlookers instead of the usual thousands. Los Angeles follows at 9 a.m. on the west coast and Honolulu in the state of Hawaii at 11 a.m.

It takes until 1 p.m. CET on January 1st for the whole globe to slide into the new year. Last up are Baker Island and Howland Island in the Pacific. Nobody should be bothered by this: both islands are uninhabited. (Daniela Deeg with dpa) * is part of the nationwide Ippen-Digital network

List of rubric lists: © Boris Roessler, dpa

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