Feburary 4th marks the start of Cologne’s Carnival, an event that attracts over a million people. Following the large-scale attacks on women on New Year’s Eve, the city has invested 360,000 euros in boosting security.
A stronger presence of security staff is high on the agenda. This extra service will cost an estimated 9000 euros. Cologne’s fire service also wishes to bulk up their numbers with volunteers. There will be a higher presence of security in areas with large crowds, "where the necessary social control may not be possible", announced City Manager, Guido Kahlen, at a presentation on the carnival’s security plan.
Around 360,000 euros will be invested in security according to initial outlines. This will include mobile lighting masts to illuminate dark, potentially dangerous corners. The city has set aside 160,000 euros for these as well as additional blockades.
A security point will be set up in the city center where women can report to in case of an emergency, according to the city's Equal Opportunities Officer, Christine Kronenberg. Social workers, psychologists and other helpers will be there to offer support.
This year’s street parade - the highlight of the carnival season - is a crucial test for the city. "We realize these carnival days represent a kind of trial for us, to show we’ve taken appropriate action following the terrible events on New Year’s Eve", says Kahlen.
Over a million visitors flock to the cathedral city of Cologne on the river Rhine to soak up the Karnevalatmosphere. The climax takes place on Rosenmontag, the Monday before lent, when the largest street procession in Germany parades through the city. Carnival season ends on Ash Wednesday on February 10th.