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New Year’s Eve assaults: Cologne plans protected zone around Cathedral

New Year’s Eve assaults : Cologne plans protected zone around Cathedral

Cologne police have reportedly submitted plans for a new security concept at the Cologne Cathedral, including a protection zone.

Cologne Police Chief Jürgen Mathies has given Mayor Henriette Reker plans for a new security concept at the Cologne Cathedral following the New Year’s eve mass assaults last year. The “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” newspaper reported the development, citing plans for a “Cathedral Protection Zone.” In that zone, the lighting of fireworks would no longer be tolerated, along with excessive intake of alcohol, drug use, urinating in public, camping out, active begging and littering the area. Work would be done to prevent these acts in the future and they would be considered misdemeanors.

It was also suggested in the report that the “Cathedral Protection Zone” be extended to the Cologne Philharmonic and to the Rhine River, where a drug scene has firmly established itself. At the same time, police are working with the city on security plans for the next New Year’s Eve celebrations. They want to prevent the mass number of offenses experienced last year. A wide area around the Cologne Cathedral should be fenced off to protect against fireworks.

Mathies told the newspaper that the goal of his approach is “for people in the vicinity of the cathedral to feel safe.” It’s about allowing the diversity of urban life but to act resolutely against troublemakers. Cologne Mayor Reker declined to comment on the plans.

Cathedral Provost Gerd Bachner said he was “grateful and delighted that the city and police are addressing the basic problems.” It is sorely needed. “We have a great cathedral that attracts visitors from all over the world. But with the environment around it up until now, it really doesn’t make us look good,” Bachner told the Stadt-Anzeiger.

(Orig. text: epd)