In Brief: Organizers of Düsseldorf’s Carnival say they still want to kick off the season on Nov. 11 – without alcohol

Planners of the event said they won’t let COVID-19 stop a nearly 150-year-old tradition of waking the Hoppeditz, a jester-like character that kicks off the months-long countdown to Lent.

Photo by mohammed alorabi on Unsplash

 

By Sylvia Cunningham and William Glucroft

Faction leaders of Berlin’s Social Democrats (SPD) and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) clashed in the city’s House of Representatives on Thursday as they rehashed last Saturday’s protest.

The leader of Berlin’s AfD faction, Georg Pazderski, called for Interior Senator Andreas Geisel, who initially banned the demonstration, to resign, saying he is a “symbol of the failure of the Red-Red-Green coalition.”

He also said the demonstrators who gathered here last weekend to protest COVID-19 measures were “deliberately and maliciously” being painted in a negative light.

SPD faction leader Raed Saleh defended Geisel and told the AfD chair he and his party are the last people they need advice from.

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Despite pandemic worries, organizers of Düsseldorf’s Carnival say they still want to kick off the season on Nov. 11. 

Planners said they won’t let COVID-19 stop a nearly 150-year-old tradition of waking the Hoppeditz, a jester-like character that kicks off the months-long countdown to Lent.

The plan calls for limiting the number of people and banning alcohol sales at the normally crowded, boozy affair. A parade and ball have also been nixed.

But in the last few weeks, federal and state officials, including Health Minister Jens Spahn, have questioned efforts to go ahead with Carnival.

The celebrations are a defining part of western German culture but were also blamed for spreading the coronavirus when the pandemic arrived in Germany last winter.

In a YouGov poll last month, two-thirds of Germans said they prefer a nationwide Carnival ban.

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Germany’s Foreign Office issued a travel warning this week for the Canary Islands, meaning all of Spain is now considered a risk area for the coronavirus.

Local Tourism Minister Yaiza Castilla Herrera tweeted that they must intensify their containment of the pandemic as she said almost half of jobs on the islands depend on tourism.

Those returning from Spain to Germany are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and must go into quarantine until they get the results.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk. 

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