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Germans Asked to Avoid New Year Fireworks Out of Concern for Refugees

© Flickr / Bernau LIVEFireworks in Berlin, Germany
Fireworks in Berlin, Germany - Sputnik International
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Officials in several German towns expressed concern that New Year’s fireworks may awaken painful memories of war in refugees and asked citizens to show understanding by refraining from the joyful tradition.

Asylum seeker (C, L) takes a selfie picture with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C, R) following Merkel's visit at a branch of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and a camp for asylum-seekers in Berlin on September 10, 2015 - Sputnik International
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The use of fireworks is temporarily prohibited in or near refugee residences in Arnsberg, a western German town that accepted hundreds of asylum seekers. City officials are worried that by setting off fireworks, residents will be reminded of the endless shootings and bombings, and of their flight from war in Syria.

The Arnsberg fire department explained in an official statement published by the local Neue Westfaelische daily newspaper that the directive was issued "to avoid reawakening memories in people who have fled war and conflict."

Arnsberg is not the only town in Germany that issued such recommendations in anticipation of the approaching holidays.

"Those coming from war zones associate the banging of fireworks more with shootings or bombs, which could have traumatic impacts," a North-Rhine Westphalia official told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

In some parts of Germany the issue has been dealt with in more unique ways. The city of Reichenberg prepared refugees for December 31 by organizing a well-publicized rehearsal fireworks show on Tuesday.

Migrants and refugees crowd in a line as they wait for their registration at central registration center for refugees and asylum seekers LaGeSo (Landesamt fuer Gesundheit und Soziales - State Office for Health and Social Affairs) in Berlin, Germany, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015. - Sputnik International
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There have been plenty of registered incidents in Germany in which fireworks were deliberately used by anti-refugee protesters to intimidate refugees, which may have triggered the measure.

According to the European Pressphoto Agency, earlier this month protesters aimed fireworks at a bus that was transporting refugees to a hostel in the eastern German state of Saxony, and some of the refugees were so terrified that they had to be taken to alternative accommodations.    

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