BERLIN – At least two people were killed on Tuesday in the southwest German city of Trier and several others were seriously injured when an SUV raced down a pedestrian zone in the city center, the police said.

Police said they had arrested the driver, a 51-year-old local man, and confiscated his vehicle. They urged people to avoid the area so that rescue workers can take care of the injured.

“We have at least two dead and up to 15 seriously injured and are trying to get an overview of the situation,” said Wolfram Leibe, Mayor of Trier, to the regional public broadcaster SWR. “Our priority now is to save lives.”

It was not immediately clear how the driver could enter the pedestrian zone in Trier.

There are pedestrian zones of this kind in many German cities, and security at the entrances was increased after a 24-year-old Tunisian drove a truck to a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016 and killed 12 people.

Pictures from Tuesday’s scene showed dozens of ambulances and police cars parked on the cobbled streets of central Trier and adorned with green garlands for the Christmas season.

The Christmas markets in Germany were canceled this year or reduced to just a few stalls in order to prevent the spread of the corona virus. However, the shops are still open.

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