Photo: Martin Meissner, AP
DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) – A few carnival floats mocking Russian President Vladimir Putin, former US President Donald Trump, German politicians and the fight against the coronavirus made their way through the largely empty streets of Düsseldorf, which is the site of noisy celebrations.
Parades, street festivals and other large gatherings have all been canceled this year.
But the organizers in Düsseldorf, one of the main carnival strongholds of the German Rhineland, did not want to let Rose Monday in 2021 do without the traditional caricatures of the news altogether.
They sent eight floats across town – separately, rather than in a parade, and on routes that were kept secret in advance to prevent crowds from assembling.
“It’s a small signal that we are alive,” float builder Jacques Tilly told German news agency dpa.
This year’s offerings included a portrayal of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny kicking a much taller Putin, both dressed in judo gear, and a cartoon of Trump spit over a fire bearing the words “Make America Great Again!”
There was also a float showing Earth trying to fend off a virus as a monster painted with the word “Climate” loomed behind it. Another depicted the brain flying out of the head of an activist against coronavirus restrictions.
Armin Laschet, the new leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party and candidate for her succession after an election in September, was portrayed as Merkel – a reference to the ideological closeness perceived by the two politicians – with the words “Continue to Merkeling with Armin Laschet. “
One of the first large-scale events in Germany came from a carnival celebration in a town west of Cologne in February 2020, where many people came into contact with an infected man. This year, the authorities are taking no risks, with public consumption of alcohol banned in some places.
Germany has seen more than 65,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths during the pandemic and has just put restrictions on its borders with Austria and the Czech Republic to prevent new variants of the virus from circulating in those countries.
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