German authorities had denied the reports which claimed that a mob of 1,000 men has launched fireworks at the police and set fire to a historic church in Dortmund on New Year’s Eve.
A report from Ruhr Nachrichten stated that a crowd of “at least 1,000 young men” threw fireworks into crowds of visitors that included families with children, according to Breitbart. When the officers asked them to stop, they directed the fireworks toward the police.
The report also indicated that fireworks were launched toward St. Reinold’s Church, setting its roof on fire.
Nina Vogt, a spokeswoman for Dortmund police, acknowledged that there were officers who were injured by flying fireworks, but she said that none of them were attacked.
She explained that a firework hit the netting on a scaffolding close to the church, but the fire was immediately extinguished.
“There’s no indication it was directed there on purpose,” she told the Associated Press. She added that there had been several arrests and violent incidents, but it is not unusual for a city of almost 600,000.
“New Year’s Eve night really was pretty quiet,” she remarked, adding that the reports to the contrary “absolutely don’t correspond to reality.”
In Cologne, the security services came under pressure on Saturday to prevent a repeat of sexual assaults and robberies that occurred on New Year’s Eve in 2015. Around 3,000 officers have been deployed around the city.
The police have been criticized for the alleged racial profiling against North Africans and for referring to the men as “Nafris.”
According to Deutsche Welle, the police rounded up groups of men who were almost exclusively North African. Cologne police chief Jurgen Mathies defended the officers and said “it was not the appearance, but the behavior of the young men” that caused the police to act against them.
Green party co-chair Simone Peter admitted that the tighter security limited the violence and attacks, but she questioned the legality of the tactics used by the police.
“It raises the question of proportionality and legality when around 1,000 people were checked and partially detained, based on their appearance alone,” she said.
Other German politicians, however, praised the authorities and denounced Peter’s criticism of the police.
Christian Democratic Union General Secretary Peter Tauber said that it was hard to believe that the Greens were characterizing the preventive actions of the police as racist.
“This is absurd and unmasks once more the Green multiculturalism and complete lack of reality,” he said.