Seven arrests amid violent attacks at Cologne Carnival

A number of violent attacks have marred the start of carnival season in Cologne.

Seven arrests amid violent attacks at Cologne Carnival
Archive photo shows the aftermath of Carnival celebrations in Cologne. Photo: DPA

Thousands of people attended the annual celebration which began on Monday. 

But police reported some trouble and said they'd made seven arrests. They are also searching for the perpetrator of a violent assault.

A 22-year-old man had a plastic cable tie put around his neck and tightened. A doctor in a nearby medical tent assisted the man and managed to release the zip tie from his neck, reported RP Online.

It was wrapped so tightly around his neck that it had restricted blood flow to the head, the doctor said. 

Cologne police launched a probe and are hunting for the perpetrator. A police spokesman said on Tuesday morning that CCTV cameras were being checked. 

During investigations, a paramedic told the police that there had been a similar case earlier in the morning. Any further victims are being asked to report it to police. 

IN PICTURES: Rosenmontag Carnival celebrations go ahead despite storm

In another incident, an 18-year-old man was struck by leftover building material thrown from a nearby building, and suffered minor injuries to his foot. A 17-year-old and a 19-year-old were detained in connection with the attack.

By late evening, seven people had been arrested. Several revellers were also slapped with fines for riding e-scooters while drunk.

According to police, 82 people were given a verbal warning.

Traditionally, every November 11th, up to 70,000 people mark the beginning of Carnival season in the western German city on the Rhine. Celebrations also take place at other locations across Germany including Mainz and Düsseldorf.

Karneval season, which is also called Fasching depending on the region of Germany, peaks in January and February and runs until March.

A man drinking beer at the Cologne Carnival celebrations on Monday. Photo: DPA

Passer-by hit by train

Meanwhile, a woman was seriously injured after being hit by an S-Bahn train during the Carnival chaos in the southern part of Cologne on Monday.

The train driver was treated for shock, as was his colleague, who was steering the oncoming train and saw the accident. The line was closed.

The 34-year-old woman was not dressed up so was likely not part of Carnival celebrations.

According to police, there were no incidents in Düsseldorf.

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German police under fire for using tracing app to find witnesses

German police drew criticism Tuesday for using an app to trace contacts from bars and restaurants in the fight against the pandemic as part of an investigation.

A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant.
A barcode used for the Luca check-in app to trace possible Covid contacts at a Stuttgart restaurant. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Marijan Murat

The case stemming from November last year began after the fatal fall of a man while leaving a restaurant in the western city of Mainz.

Police seeking possible witnesses made use of data from an app known as Luca, which was designed for patrons to register time spent in restaurants and taverns to track the possible spread of coronavirus.

Luca records the length of time spent at an establishment along with the patron’s full name, address and telephone number – all subject to Germany’s strict data protection laws.

However the police and local prosecutors in the case in Mainz successfully appealed to the municipal health authorities to gain access to information about 21 people who visited the restaurant at the same time as the man who died.

After an outcry, prosecutors apologised to the people involved and the local data protection authority has opened an inquiry into the affair.

“We condemn the abuse of Luca data collected to protect against infections,” said the company that developed the Luca app, culture4life, in a statement.

It added that it had received frequent requests for its data from the authorities which it routinely rejected.

Konstantin von Notz, a senior politician from the Greens, junior partners in the federal coalition, warned that abuse of the app could undermine public trust.

“We must not allow faith in digital apps, which are an important tool in the fight against Covid-19, to disappear,” he told Tuesday’s edition of Handelsblatt business daily.