Corona may have meant a different New Year’s Eve for most people, but one thing did not fundamentally change for the police and fire brigade in Essen: once again, they were pelted with firecrackers during their operations. The police reported two major incidents in the Südostviertel and Altenessen districts.
Shortly after midnight (0.16 am), however, the officers were called to the street Steeler Straße/corner Kurfürstenstraße. There, witnesses had reported about 30 youths who were setting fire to rubbish bins and apparently using accelerants to do so.
When the fire brigade and police arrived at the scene, the hooligans did not hesitate: “Immediately, our colleagues were attacked from within the group with fireworks,” Wickhorst said. According to the fire brigade, emergency vehicles were also fired upon with firecrackers and rockets. According to current information, the fireworks that were thrown were “category 4 fireworks”, which are sold for professional use.Fortunately, no one was injured. However, what could have happened is shown by the damage caused by a single firecracker in the attack. The firecracker had fallen a few metres away from a parked vehicle. “But the force of the explosion was enough to trigger a side airbag and tear off the interior mirror,” police spokesman Christoph Wickhorst describes in vivid detail.
The police arrested a youth after receiving hints from witnesses. The 16-year-old allegedly threw the fireworks. After the measures were completed, his legal guardians were able to pick him up at the police station.
A short time later, the police were able to identify another 16-year-old, both of whom (of Syrian and Syrian-Turkish origin) were questioned, fingerprints were taken and photos were taken.
Only a little later, the police were dealing with a larger group in the Altenessen district. Around 0.40 am, residents had called the police and reported that about 50 people were rioting and vandalising the Altenessen market.
“Smashed bus stops, smashed advertising boards and kicked or burning rubbish bins,” Christoph Wickhorst lists the damage. When the police arrived, the group fled.