False: Afro-Arab migrants attacked an ambulance crew with firecrackers and stones on new year's eve in Berlin.

By: Rajini KG
January 4 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
False: Afro-Arab migrants attacked an ambulance crew with firecrackers and stones on new year's eve in Berlin.


The Verdict False

The video of demonstrators attacking Hong Kong Police officers in 2019 was misattributed to the recent new year's eve attacks in Neukölln, Berlin.

Claim ID 7743daa8


Around 38 instances of firefighters being attacked with firecrackers in various locations around Berlin were reported on new years eve, according to DW. The attacks happened following Germany's lifting of a ban on the sale of rockets and firecrackers post the COVID-19 pandemic on December 29, 2022. In its aftermath, many videos claiming to be of the New Year's Eve attack went viral on social media. 

One such video was posted on Twitter, captioned in German as "Berlin-Neukölln - Afro-Arab migrants attack ambulances. Unbelievable scenes take place in Berlin-Neukölln at the turn of the year. You can see migrants attacking an ambulance crew with firecrackers and stones. #New Year's Eve2022 #New Year's Eve." The video shows a crowd of people throwing liquid and bricks at officers inside the ambulance.

However, this is false. The viral video is from the 2019 altercation between protesters and police at the Polytechnic University Campus in Hong Kong, not from Berlin

In Fact

Through a reverse image search on one of the video keyframes, we found that the video is not related to the recent Berlin attack. A similar video was found on the YouTube channel of the user lee siuman, posted on September 11, 2021. The video was captioned: "Hong Kong, November 17, 2019 - Rioters attack an ambulance." According to the video description, the Hong Kong police detained a 20-year-old Chinese woman for "participating in an Unlawful Assembly." She was being escorted to the ambulance by two police officers for medical attention when a group of protesters attacked police officers on duty. Rioters threw rocks and bricks at the police and sprayed them with an unknown liquid.

The same video was also found on Adam Daniel's YouTube channel on November 18, 2019. It was titled "Hong Kong Protest - rioters attack ambulance."

On November 18, 2019, CCTV Asia Pacific, a China state-affiliated media, tweeted the same video with the caption, "A mob of rioters assaulted the #HKPolice officers and assisted the arrested person to escape on early Monday morning."

The news website Hong Kong 01 has cited a similar video from a different angle in its article, reporting on how a big group of protesters attacked police officers and attempted to seize a female protester. Several others even tried to flip the ambulance over while throwing bricks and other trash at it. Yahoo News also reported the same on November 18, 2019.

According to an NPR report, a violent standoff between police and an estimated 600 pro-democracy protestors took place on the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. As the fighting heated up, demonstrators tossed gasoline bombs and shot arrows at the police, who responded by firing tear gas and water cannons. Police arrested around 400 protestors in 24 hours, and the campus siege lasted 13 days. Chief Executive Carrie Lam's plan to pass a law permitting residents of Hong Kong to be deported to mainland China sparked the first round of demonstrations. Later, that proposal was withdrawn. Many officials condemned this social unrest. 

While the reasons for several targeted attacks against police, and emergency service staff are unknown, the lifting of the ban post-pandemic is being cited as a possible cause. Authorities reported 33 injured police officers and firefighters on more than 1,700 missions carried out on the evening of 31 December in Berlin, Guardian reported.

The Verdict

A four-year-old video of social unrest in Hong Kong was falsely linked to the New Year's Eve attacks in Berlin. Therefore, we are marking this as false.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before