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Cologne Karneval scraps Charlie Hebdo float

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Image courtesy Festkomittee Kölner Karneval
10:43 CET+01:00
Cologne's planned Charlie Hebdo float in its Rosenmontag parade was a false start, after the organising committee scrapped its construction over security concerns.

The Festival Committee of the Cologne Carnival said in a statement on Wednesday that despite the overwhelming support for the Charlie Hebdo float, construction on it was halted.

"The Festival Committee wants everyone to be able to celebrate in safety and without concerns," it said in a press release on Wednesday.  

The now scrapped float's design was voted on by the people by Facebook. When the winning design was announced, a mere week ago, parade leader Christoph Kuckelkorn, lauded the democratic involvement behind the choice.

"More than 170,000 Facebook users saw the image," he said. "Of those, more than 7,000 voted for a design and the winner received 2,400 of those votes."

Reports had already said that no other floats wanted to directly precede or follow the Charlie Hebdo float out of safety reasons. The Festival committee said that this wasn't true.

"Many members contacted the festival committee directly to say they wanted to accompany this float to show they support freedom of expression," read the press statement.

GALLERY: 2014 Rosenmontag parade floats

The Rosenmontag Parade is always the zenith of the annual Karneval festivities in Cologne. The parade is always known for its floats that don't shy away from making a political statement.

"The Rosenmontag parade in Cologne lives for freedom of expression with its parodies every year," the statement said.

Karneval is touted as Cologne's Fifth Season and starts in November. The five days that close out this season are celebrated around the Rhineland with parades, costumes and lots of Kölsch beer in the run up to Lent.

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This year's festivities start on February 12th and Rosenmontag falls on February 16th.  

The parade follows a 7.5 kilometre route through the centre of the city. Every year, an estimated 400 tonnes of candy are tossed into the crowd.

SEE ALSO: What's so great about... Cologne?

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