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Booze gets Karneval off to a violent start

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Booze gets Karneval off to a violent start
A Karneval goer's flair. Photo: DPA
08:50 CET+01:00
Violence at the start of Cologne's bacchanalian Karneval celebration on Thursday evening was more intense than usual, police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia reported on Friday.

Besides fist fights, some festival-goers employed the use of glass bottles in street scuffles, police said, adding that they'd attended to 1,167 incidents. By Friday morning authorities had tallied up 54 fights, 105 injuries and 123 arrests.

One 40-year-old man was also stabbed at the Neumarkt metro station.

Police said they believe the Jecken, or jokers as Karneval partiers are called, are drinking more alcohol than usual.

“It's worse than ever,” police spokesperson Bruno Ethen said. “It is, after all, really cold outside.”

Some 61 people who tried to stay warm by drinking too much Schnapps were treated by emergency services, police reported.

Thursday evening began the Rhineland's famously debaucherous street carnival. It's known as Weiberfastnacht, which could be translated as Wenches' Carnival. Reborn with the modern Karneval-era in 1823, this is traditionally the day when women run around snipping off the ties of men dumb enough to wear them. Supposedly they're compensated for losing this symbol of their manhood with a kiss.

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