08:34 GMT +322 August 2019
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    People walk over the Christmas market near the city hall in Berlin two days after a truck ran into the crowded Christmas market at the Breitscheidplatz in the city and killed several people

    Berlin to Strengthen Police on New Year's Eve 'to Prevent Negative Scenarios'

    © AP Photo / Markus Schreiber
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    Increased security measures are being taken on New Year's Eve in Berlin and other German cities to ensure people’s safety. As police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf told Sputnik Germany, security measures are toughened every year and are not solely related to the recent terrorist attack on a Christmas market in Berlin.

    "We have already strengthened security measures after the last year's terrorist attacks in Paris and Belgium — in particular at the ‘New Year mile’ at the Brandenburg Gate. This year, additional concrete slabs will be installed there. Furthermore, more police cars will be deployed," Neuendorf told Sputnik Germany.

    According to the police spokesman, police will check the contents of the bags even more carefully than before. Moreover, large bags won’t be allowed to be taken to the fenced area.

    The security enhancement is partly connected with the last year’s sexual incidents in Cologne, when women were sexually assaulted by people of Arab-African origin during the New Year’s celebration.

    Although, in contrast to Cologne, the situation in Berlin was relatively quiet, Neuendorf said that the police are trying to take into account all possible scenarios.

    "Security forces are actively exchanging information with each other, and we do our best to prevent any negative scenarios. But we must understand one thing: it is impossible to fence the entire city. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee 100% security," the police spokesman said.

    Local media reported earlier that about 1,700 police officers will ensure security during the New Year celebrations in the German capital amid the recent Berlin truck attack.

    According to the Bild newspaper, alongside with the police units the security measures during the New Year night in Berlin will be ensured by about 700 special forces’ personnel. The policemen will be reportedly provided with firearms and special equipment, including heavy vehicles.
    All in all, Neuendorf is optimistic about the New Year’s celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.

    "This is one of the most well protected places in Berlin. In our view, there should be no doubts that the New Year celebrations will be happy and peaceful," he said.

    On December 19, a truck rammed into the crowd at a Christmas market in the center of Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others. The suspected perpetrator, 24-year-old Tunisian citizen Anis Amri, was shot dead a few days later by the police in Milan, Italy, after he was stopped for a routine check.

    According to a survey, 69% of Berlin residents are afraid of new attacks following the recent terrorist attack on a Christmas market in the German capital.


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