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National and international politics topped the agenda as Germany's Carnival season reached its high point on Monday, with thousands thronging the streets of Cologne and Mainz and other cities to watch parades with floats featuring tongue-in-cheek figures.
The largest parade set off in Cologne on Monday morning, in a climax to the Carnival season. The Monday before the start of the Christian fasting season of Lent, known in Germany as Rose Monday, is traditionally when the biggest parades take place.
Among the colourful satirical floats featured in the Cologne parade was one depicting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as a sloth in a hammock and Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock as an elephant in a china shop.
On one float, a figure with its trousers down flashed its bare buttocks towards a few arms outstretched in a Hitler salute, one of which was emblazoned with the logo of Germany's far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
"This float actually says it all - they can kiss our arse," singer Wolfgang Niedecken said on regional public broadcaster WDR on Monday.
Hendrik Wüst, the conservative Christian Democrat (CDU) premier of the state of North Rhine Westphalia of which Cologne is the largest city, also took part in the parade. "The times aren't mega-easy, so it's good to just have a bit of fun," he said and praised the carnival event as a celebration of diversity.
In Mainz, Chancellor Scholz was depicted as a castaway with an eye patch. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach - the “Master of Disaster” - had his health-care experiment kit blow up in his face.
On another float, AfD leader Alice Weidel and former left-wing icon Sahra Wagenknecht, who recently founded her own political movement, were chauffeured around in a pink convertible as Russian President Vladimir Putin's Barbies with bloody hands.
The most savage takes on politics were seen on Carnival floats in Dusseldorf, with Putin depicted receiving oral sex from Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill or former US president Donald Trump shown cutting a swastika into the US flag.
Float builder Jacques Tilly told dpa that with his motif he wanted to denounce the Russian Orthodox Church's shared responsibility for the war against Ukraine.
There was also tragedy amidst the revelry. Two young men were hit by a car and fatally injured near Cologne while on the way home from a Carnival party.
The two men, aged 18 and 20, were walking along an unlit country road in Weilerswist on Sunday evening. The driver of the car was unable to react in time and hit them both, police said on Monday.
The 20-year-old died at the scene of the accident, the 18-year-old a little later in hospital.
A police spokesman said people celebrating Carnival had been walking along the country road all day. The route leads from the main town of Weilerswist to the district of Metternich, where a large Carnival parade took place on Sunday.