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Most Germans favor additional security measures – poll

Sixty percent of Germans want more video surveillance in public spaces, according to a new YouGov poll published on Sunday. The public call comes in the wake of the Berlin Christmas market attack. Appearing to support government plans to change the law to allow increased video surveillance, 73 percent of Germans poll supported the idea of having large police forces. The YouGov survey for the German news agency dpa was carried out days after Tunisian national Anis Amri plowed a truck into a Christmas market, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 50 others. Amri, who was the prime suspect, was shot dead after fleeing to Italy. The Christmas market at Berlin's Breitscheidplatz near Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church had not been under surveillance by police cameras at the time of the attack. Amri's involvement in the attacks was initially missed by authorities, which some analysts believe would have been avoided if video cameras had been in use. A refugee of Pakistani origin was initially suspected of carrying out the attack after being followed from the scene by a member of the public. Sunday's poll comes after the German cabinet this week approved a draft bill that will allow greater monitoring of public places, despite opposition from Berlin's regional government, whose leaders have called the move premature. The draft law will mean a partial roll-back of Germany's strict privacy laws. In response, Federal Interior Minister Thomas De Maizière (CDU) called on Berlin's regional assembly to "rethink" its attitude to video cameras "urgently". In the YouGov survey, one in two Germans polled called for involvement of the military (Bundeswehr) in the event of terrorist attacks. At present, soldiers can be deployed when police called for backup. But their role has never been cemented. Next March, the first joint exercise of the Bundeswehr and the police will take place.

Sixty percent of Germans want more video surveillance in public spaces, according to a new YouGov poll published on Sunday. The public call comes in the wake of the Berlin Christmas market attack. Appearing to support government plans to change the law to allow increased video surveillance, 73 percent of Germans poll supported the idea of having large police forces. ... Read More »

With suspect dead, Germany examines impact of Berlin attacks

A day after the suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack was shot dead in Milan, German officials are debating the aftermath. Potential police failures are being examined closely. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has rejected early claims that security failures contributed to the truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, or the suspect's ability to remain at large for several days afterward. "To speak about a failure by the security authorities would be inappropriate," de Maiziere said in an interview with Germany's "Bild" newspaper scheduled to be published Sunday. De Maiziere was referring to the early speculation surrounding the security protocols in this case, and added "we will of course analyze the case meticulously and release a corresponding report." 24-year-old Anis Amri, a Tunisian national, was killed four days after Monday's attack in a shootout with Italian police in Milan. German authorities have come under increasingly intense fire from the public after it emerged that Amri was well-known to security services for his involvement with radical jihadis and was even under surveillance for six months. Slipped through the net After the shootout, more questions arose about how he was able to stay on the run for so long and make it from Germany all the way to Italy via France. Investigators are examining any potential assistance Amri may have had as he fled. Amri, a Tunisian national, had applied for asylum in Germany. He initially arrived in Italy by boat in 2011. In Italy, he spent four years in prison on arson charges for burning down a refugee shelter. Amri made his way to Germany in 2015, as the country experienced an influx of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa. His application for asylum had been turned down in June, but because it took so long to confirm his Tunisian citizenship, he was able to remain in Germany. Safe states In the interview with "Bild," de Maiziere called for revisions to Germany's deportation laws. Currently, certain countries are not considered safe enough to deport a rejected asylum seeker to without a lengthy process. Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco are included on this list of unsafe countries. De Maiziere, of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), called on other parties to drop their resistance to new laws at the state level that would make deportation easier in certain cases. "It is time for the Greens to end their blockade," de Maiziere said. By classifying the three Maghreb countries as safe, the chance of a successful asylum application for a person from those countries would sink, and deportations could be handled quicker. In an interview with the "Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung" newspaper on Friday, Mona Neubaur of the Greens' regional chairperson in North Rhine-Westphalia, said "the news of these attack and the death of the terrorist have nothing to do with the discussion of secure countries." She added that Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco are anything but safe: "it's dangerous for journalists, homosexuals, or those with conflicting beliefs to live there." A law adding the three countries to the safe list passed the lower chamber of German parliament, the Bundestag, but has yet to clear the Bundesrat, which represents Germany's 16 federal states. The Greens are among the governing parties in several states.

A day after the suspect in the Berlin Christmas market attack was shot dead in Milan, German officials are debating the aftermath. Potential police failures are being examined closely. German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere has rejected early claims that security failures contributed to the truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, or the suspect’s ability to remain at ... Read More »

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