Carnival in Germany is a time for some light-hearted fun, fancy costumes and political satire. This year, many German cities held traditional float parades on Rosenmontag, or Rose Monday, many of which depicted political themes. Images of U.S. President Donald Trump took centre stage in many float processions, in some instances with his decapitated head held up high by the Statue of Liberty, in the style of an ISIS beheading.
Other floats went after nationalist European leaders and right-wing parties. In Düsseldorf, President Trump was shown standing next to a blond Hitler, joined by France’s Marine Le Pen, and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders.
Germany prides in its traditional Narrenfreiheit (“jesters’ freedom”) to mock the high and mighty. This year, Germany’s state-run Deutsche Welle news agency proudly proclaimed, “German jesters take on kings for 2017 Carnival.”
To those objecting to some of these violent depictions of President Trump, prominent German journalist Christian Thiels reminded the public that, “It’s called ‘freedom of satire’. You don’t have to like it or find it tasteful but it is part of free speech.”
In this very spirit of “freedom”, some residents of the sleepy German town of Bad Bergzabern thought they could mock Chancellor Angela Merkel and her refugee policy.
A local non-political group showed up with a float showing Chancellor Merkel behind prison bars, with the caption: “This is how traitors end up.” It is German equivalent of the popular U.S election slogan used by many Trump supporters for former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: “Lock her up.”
A police complaint was filed the following day. The day after that, police rolled into action, and the State Attorney of Landau district opened an investigation against the subversive “miscreants.”
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