World

Berlin's Frenzied Fireworks Have Locals Leaving, Hiding On New Year's

NPR | Dec. 31, 2013 3:56 p.m.

Contributed By:

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

For about eight hours on New Year’s Eve, Berlin sounds like a war zone with thousands of people taking to the streets to shoot off fireworks — and not just into the air. Subways, passing cars and even pedestrians are also targets. Many residents choose to leave the city because of the noise and danger. Those who remain tend to stay indoors because it isn’t safe outside. The launching of most of these fireworks is illegal and hundreds of people are injured and maimed. Half of them are innocent bystanders. Yet Berlin police rarely intervene on this night. Officials say there is little they can do to stop what’s become a dangerous tradition in the German capital.

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