Dozens of police injured in Berlin protests against virus curbs

first_img‘Serious consequences’ A few hundred protesters gathered to the west of the Brandenburg Gate on Sunday, according to an AFP photographer at the scene, with the majority wearing masks and observing social distancing guidelines.Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over recent weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize Saturday’s rally as irresponsible.”Yes, demonstrations should also be possible in times of coronavirus, but not like this,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said.”Distance, hygiene rules and masks serve to protect us all, so we treat each other with respect.”Others on Sunday expressed concern at Germany’s rising virus numbers and called for higher penalties for those who break the rules.”Those who deliberately endanger others must expect that this will have serious consequences for them,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told national news agency DPA. Bavarian premier Markus Soeder, meanwhile, warned in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that now was “not the time for new relaxations or naive carelessness”.The second wave is “practically already here”, Soeder said. “It is creeping through Germany.”Soeder also said he was opposed to football matches with spectators, as officials from Germany’s Bundesliga prepare to gather this week to agree guidelines for the return of fans. Saturday saw 955 new infections in Germany — a level which the country had not seen since May 9, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) disease control agency.New infections rose only slightly by 240 in the last 24 hours, according to data published Sunday by the RKI. However, the relatively low figure was due to limited reporting by local authorities during the weekend.Topics : Police began dispersing the crowds in the late afternoon, but hundreds of protesters remained at the Brandenburg Gate late into the evening. Police have launched legal proceedings against organizers for not respecting virus hygiene rules.In a separate anti-fascist demonstration in the southern Neukoelln district, protesters threw stones at police officers, let off fireworks and damaged two police vehicles and a local party office.Several officers were injured while dispersing the crowd, including three who were treated in hospital after being hit in the face by shards of glass.Arrests were also made at smaller unofficial protests.A total of 1,100 officers were deployed during the day. Some 45 police officers were injured in a wave of weekend demonstrations in Berlin including protests against coronavirus restrictions, police said as protesters gathered again in smaller numbers on Sunday.The unruly protests, in which many demonstrators failed to wear masks or respect social distancing rules, have sparked a chorus of condemnation including calls for tougher penalties against those who violate restrictions aimed at curbing transmission of the deadly virus.  A total of 133 people were arrested during Saturday’s protests, which included a huge “day of freedom” demo against coronavirus restrictions, police said in a statement on Sunday.center_img The arrests were for offences including resisting police officers, breach of the peace and the use of unconstitutional symbols.Three officers required hospital treatment, police said.Around 20,000 people took part in the “day of freedom” demonstration, the majority not covering their nose and mouth or respecting Germany’s 1.5-meter social distancing requirement.The crowd, a mixture of hard left and right, and conspiracy theorists, shouted “We are the second wave” as they converged on the Brandenburg Gate, demanding “resistance” and dubbing the pandemic “the biggest conspiracy theory”.last_img read more

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PECO INACTION HIT: Half of Iloilo City fires since 2014 pole fires – BFP

first_imgWhat’s happeninghere, added Regencia, is so unlike in other cities such as Cagayan de Oro wherehe was last assigned before being moved to Iloilo City. There, he said, thepower distribution utility had its own fire prevention and containment unit todeal with pole fires. According to Treñas, he also got enraged by the statementof Marcelo Cacho, administrative manager of PECO who shrugged off incidents ofpost fires throughout the city. Treñas said hewas particularly alarmed after the Iloilo City Fire Marshal and BFP reportedthat in three days alone from Oct. 19 to 21, nine PECO electricity poles aroundthe city caught fire either due to exploding transformers or severedelectricity lines, setting fire on the wooden poles. PECO had claimedonly a final technical assessment could determine if it is to blame for thepole fires. It averred that wires of telecommunications and cable televisioncompanies are also connected to their electricity poles. PECO is currentlyoperating under a provisional Certificate of `Public Convenience and Necessity(CPCN) from ERC but it has to go when More Electric and Power Corp. completesits full takeover of the city’s power distribution system.Under ERC Resolution No. 5, Series of 2008, any distribution utility granted aCPCN to operate a distribution system in any area must comply with standardsset under the Philippine Grid Code and the Philippine Distribution Code,especially those that concern public safety./PN A25-year-franchise was instead granted to More Electric and Power Corp. Meanwhile, MayorTreñas said he filed a complaint at the ERC and Malacañang because PECO ignoredinformal and formal appeals from his office to address the problem by fixing orreplacing old distribution wires and electricity poles with new ones. However, Regenciasaid the telecommunications companies’ wires usually carry a 24-volt charge asopposed to PECO wires which has a 220-voltage charge. Regenciasubmitted his office’s report to the ERC in support of the complaint filed byMayor Jerry Treñas on the threat to public safety posed by PECO’s“inadequately-maintained lines, power outages and hazardous electric posts.” A pole of Panay Electric Co. dangerously leans in Jaro, Iloilo City. A passing container van hit a dangling cable on Wednesday night, Nov. 13, 2019, inadvertently dragging the pole, according to witnesses. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN Out of the 427city fire incidents in 2014, 224 were pole fires while there were 228 cases ofpole fires in 2015; 303 cases in 2016; 275 incidents in 2017;and another 233pole fires in 2018.A total of 201 pole fires erupted in the city from January to Oct. 27, 2019.center_img The firedepartment listed the official reason for these incidents as “Short CircuitSecondary Service Lines,” which basically meant exposed electricity wiresbursting into flames after short circuiting and burning the wooden poles wherethey were connected. According toChief Inspector Christopher Regencia, city fire marshal, PECO informed the BFPit did not have the technical people to attend to the pole fires except tomonitor and document those cases.A big dent in the resources of the fire department was how Regencia describedPECO’s failure to deal with fire incidents involving its electricity poles. The safety and security of the people of Iloilo City andthe damage to government property are not small matters, he stressed. BFP datasubmitted by Regencia to the ERC showed that from Jan. 1, 2014 to Oct. 29, 2019a total of 2,887 fire incidents occurred in Iloilo City, with pole firesnumbering 1,464 cases, or 51.187 percent of all fire incidents during thealmost six-year period. Another factorbehind the pole fires, according to BFP, is PECO’s failure to solve the problemon illegal connections or “jumpers” where connections are usually through wiresconnected to spliced PECO wires, with the open wire causing the fire in thepole when strong winds cut them from the “jumpers”. ILOILO City –More than half or 1,464 cases out of 2,887 incidents of fire in this city sinceJanuary 2014 were pole fires, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) reported tothe Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). PECO’s franchiseexpired on Jan. 19 this year and it failed to secure one from Congress overmounting consumer complaints such as poor service quality and safety,unfriendly customer relations and frequent power outages, among others. Incidents of polefire keep on rising because the power distribution utility that owns the poles,franchise-less Panay Electric Co. (PECO), has no trained technical people tosolve the problem, the bureau added. “Only electricitywires, either damaged or overloaded, can cause fires, not telephone orcable television wires,” Regencia told ERC.last_img
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