Prague rings in 2023 as celebrants ignore fireworks ban

This year's New Year's Eve was quieter than usual in the Czech capital, though partiers ignored a ban on fireworks in the city center and near waterfronts.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 01.01.2023 09:35:00 (updated on 02.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague welcomed the new year with quieter celebrations than usual last night, at least according to local firefighters and paramedics. Firefighters responded to 52 calls on New Year's Eve through 2 a.m., compared to 57 year previous year, Martin Kavka, a spokesperson for Prague firefighters, said in a press release.

Paramedics reported to 81 calls in connection with New Year's Eve celebrations, Jana Poštová, a spokesperson for Prague's Medical Rescue Service, told Czech News Agency. She confirmed that this year's celebrations were quieter than usual in the Czech capital, despite not being limited this year by pandemic restrictions.

Still, celebrants throughout the Czech capital did not observe a ban on fireworks in the city center and around waterfront embankments designed to protect Prague's wildlife and historic architecture.

According to police spokesperson Violeta Siřišťová, police imposed multiple fines on people setting off fireworks through midnight, until the number of people using fireworks exploded and the ban was no longer enforceable.

Police at Wenceslas Square detained three individuals after one of them attacked a police officer, kicking him in the head, shortly before midnight. The injured police officer was treated for head injuries at a local hospital.

Elsewhere by Wenceslas Square, errant fireworks shattered around 30 windows of residential and commercial buildings on Ve Smečkách street, according to Siřišťová.

Prague police responded to 500 calls on New Year's Eve through 0:30 a.m., which included violations of the fireworks ban, traffic accidents, fights on the streets, and domestic violence.

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A large number of incidents were reported in Prague's central Old Town and Wenceslas Square. Paramedics at the squares treated 28 people for injuries on the spot, including injuries related to fireworks, with ten people taken to local hospitals for further treatment.

"Although we certainly weren't bored, compared to the past years [before the pandemic and restrictions in 2020 and 2021], it was more of a mild end-of-year celebration," reported Rescue Service spokesperson Poštová.

Firefighters responded to multiple fires related to the use of fireworks, including a fire on the roof of a Billa supermarket, a fire on a balcony on Vysočanská street, and multiple fires among bushes, waste containers, and other areas where fireworks had been abandoned or improperly disposed of.

"We also rescued people who were stuck in a boat underneath Charles Bridge," added Kavka on behalf of Prague's firefighters.

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