Berlin police reject criticism over attack
30 May 2006, BERLIN - Berlin's chief of police rejected criticism this week that suggested German police, who are gearing up to handle huge World Cup crowds, were slow to respond when a teenager with a knife went on a stabbing spree in the capital.
30 May 2006
BERLIN - Berlin's chief of police rejected criticism this week that suggested German police, who are gearing up to handle huge World Cup crowds, were slow to respond when a teenager with a knife went on a stabbing spree in the capital.
The youth is in custody after wounding at least 36 people when he went berserk in the crowd Friday night during festivities for the opening of Berlin's huge, ultra-modern, new main railway station.
Police chief Dieter Glietsch said the youth was stopped within 16 minutes, although evidence about the attacker was initially thin because many victims had only minor wounds. In the excitement of the night, some did not realize they had been slashed or jabbed.
Glietsch said out-of-town critics knew nothing about the policing situation on the ground. Security at the World Cup would proceed as planned.
"People going berserk is not the typical situation we expect to cope with at the World Cup," he said.
Police would prevent known troublemakers from entering football stadiums or areas where giant outdoor video screens are being set up for free public viewing of the games. They would allow no one to carry weapons there.
Mike P, 16, described as drunk, was detained about one kilometre from the scene by private security guards, who then handed him over to police, according to news reports. Public prosecutor Ralf Rother said the schoolboy was still denying the attacks Monday.
The principal of his school on Monday described P as the child of a broken marriage. He had generally been a pleasant boy, though he had been expelled from a previous school for insulting a teacher.
One of his first victims was a carrier of the virus which causes AIDS, prompting fears that others who suffered stab wounds or were splattered with blood could be infected. The Charite, a hospital near the scene of the attack, is to give 37 people anti-HIV drugs as a precaution and then test them regularly for HIV infection.
Three of the victims were still recovering in hospital Monday, but were in stable condition.
Around 500,000 people, among them Chancellor Angela Merkel, attended the Berlin festivities Friday for the new interchange, where north-south European trains stop at tunnel platforms below an elevated, steel-and-glass station for east-west trains.
Around 3 million foreign visitors are expected for the month-long World Cup which will see teams from 32 countries play 64 games in 12 cities, starting with Germany against Costa Rica in Munich on June 9. Berlin will host six games, including the final on July 9.
Subject: German News