No Feuerzangenbowle at the Gedächtniskirche Christmas Market Tonight:
Tony’s favourite feuerzangenbowle is at the Gedächtniskirche Christmas Market on Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz and so that’s where we headed for on Saturday night. As we were walking towards Breitscheidplatz, we saw streams of people walking away from the Christmas market. I then became aware that there were a lot of heavily armed police and police vehicles in the area. I said to Tony that there was something going on.
Reports of a Suspicious Package:
We continued walking and saw policemen shouting for people to get off the streets. Tony asked a nice young officer (their special police are really big!) what was happening and he said that they had reports that there was a suspicious parcel at the market. He told us to get off the streets and so we went inside the Bikini Berlin shopping centre.
About 15 minutes later, we were told that we had to leave the building. In fact people in cafes, restaurants and supermarkets all had to evacuate. We didn’t know what was going on but we and everyone else left in the very crowded trains.
More than an alarm
Today I read that the police had spotted two individuals at the market whom they believed had links to terrorist activities. The two were confronted and they tried to make a getaway and the police gave chase which explains why we had to leave the area. They got the guys, one of whom was known to police as an Islamist sympathizer. The other was initially mistaken for someone who had an international arrest warrant on him.
Being a Saturday night and with the huge pre-Christmas crowds at the market, we thought the police did a great job in clearing people off the whole area so quickly. The young policeman we spoke to apologized for our spoilt Christmas market experience. No, Tony said, you guys are doing a great job for public safety. Given the terrorist incident at this market in December 2016, when 12 people were killed, you can expect the police to be extra sensitive to alerts. We too were at the market in 2016 and luckily for us, we left the day before the incident.
We did feel sorry for the stallholders, especially those selling food as they had to abandon their stalls and their potential sales for the evening.