Germany’s largest carnival procession has banned a float commemorating the slain cartoonists of French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, due to security concerns.
The carnival committee in the western city of Cologne said in a statement released late Wednesday that it had received “messages from concerned locals which we take seriously.”
Organizers, however, said there was “no indication” from the police of a credible terror threat.
“Carnival shouldn’t make people worry – we should be able to have a carefree celebration together,” added the statement.
It further said, “We do not want a satirical float that curbs the freedom and light-hearted style of the carnival. For this reason we decided today to stop the construction of the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ float and not to allow it to join the Rose Monday procession” on February 16.
The design of the float, reportedly selected in an online popular vote, showed a bearded man dressed in black with an explosives belt and a drawn gun and a clown shoving a pencil down its barrel.
This is while the decision was censured by critics as a capitulation to radicals.
“How can there be broad participation in the selection process and then the result be summarily cancelled? If fear overcomes carnival, terror has won,” said Sven Lehmann, the head of the state chapter of the Greens Party.
Two gunmen attacked the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo magazine on January 7. Twelve people were killed in the incident. The al-Qaeda branch in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attack.