A member of Germany’s CDU party, Christoph de Vries, has caused controversy with a tweet suggesting that the country should discuss the role of people with “West Asian” and “darker skin type” in combating riots, contempt for the state, and attacks on police and firefighters. De Vries was a member of the Hamburg Parliament from 2011 to 2015. He was the CDU’s direct candidate for the 2017 federal election in the Hamburg-Mitte district and entered the German Bundestag via the CDU’s state list.
The tweet claims that public videos clearly show that the perpetrators are overwhelmingly migrants. However, rather than addressing and politically solving the real problems, the party has introduced a code of language and is discussing a ban on firecrackers.
Wenn wir Krawalle in unseren Großstädten, Verachtung gegenüber dem Staat und Übergriffe gegen #Polizisten und #Feuerwehrleute wirklich bekämpfen wollen, müssen wir auch über die Rolle von Personen, Phänotypus: westasiatisch, dunklerer Hauttyp sprechen. Um es korrekt zu sagen.— Christoph de Vries (@VriesChristoph) January 2, 2023
The New Year’s Eve celebrations were largely peaceful, but not for everyone, leading to a new debate on firecracker bans. For example, police and firefighters in Berlin complained of a high level of aggression. Police and rescue services have drawn a mixed preliminary balance after New Year’s Eve. While millions of people celebrated peacefully, they had to respond to many deployments nationwide. Due to the lifting of Corona restrictions and the unusually mild temperatures, they had significantly more work.
The emergency services again complained that they encountered a high level of aggression. In Berlin, police officers were “massively attacked with firecrackers” while extinguishing a burning car, according to the local police. In the Lichtenrade district, according to the police, 60 to 80 people tried to set a vehicle on fire with fireworks, and police officers were “literally under fire”. The police in the capital reported 18 injured officers. The intensity of the attacks was “not comparable to previous years”, according to the police. More than 100 people were arrested.
De Vries joined the Junge Union and CDU Hamburg in 1995. He has been a member of the CDU Hamburg’s state executive committee since 2007 and the deputy state chairman since June 2016. He has been the CDU Hamburg-Mitte district chairman since 2015 and the CDU Hamburg-Hamm local chairman.
Many people on Twitter have accused De Vries of being a racist and engaging in hate speech. They have also criticized his statements as overly generalized and added that many members of the CDU party were not pleased with De Vries’ tweet.
Jens Spahn Blames Failed Integration Policy for Attacks on Emergency Services on New Year’s Eve
Jens Spahn, Deputy Chairman of the Union faction, sees the state’s weakness in the violence on New Year’s Eve. According to Spahn, the riots had more to do with “unregulated migration” than fireworks. Spahn made failed integration policy partly responsible for the attacks on rescue forces on New Year’s Eve. He said that politics in Germany must seriously consider why New Year’s Eve celebrations keep escalating at the same places with the same participants. Spahn said that the attacks on emergency services are “abominable” and are also a sign of the state’s weakness. He said that a ban on fireworks, which several politicians have called for in the wake of the violence, is not the solution to the problem. “One does not combat riots in certain neighborhoods or places with a nationwide ban on fireworks,” Spahn said. “Here, it has more to do with unregulated migration, failed integration, and a lack of respect for the state than fireworks,” Spahn said.
Calls for National Ban on Fireworks Renewed Following New Year’s Eve Attacks on Emergency Services
In the wake of the violence, there have been renewed calls for a ban on fireworks in Germany. Berlin intends to use its position as the new chair of the Interior Ministers’ Conference to advocate for national regulation, announced Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD). The Green Party’s parliamentary group’s interior expert, Konstantin von Notz, also called for national regulation. Emergency services such as the fire department and police were attacked in Berlin and Hamburg on New Year’s Eve. They were reportedly targeted with fireworks. There was 33 injured emergency services personnel in Berlin alone. Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser condemned the attacks, but neither made statements about the perpetrators of the violence.