Hundreds of thousands of Germans applauded a giant satirical effigy of Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi on Monday as glorious weather brought out the crowds for the country's biggest carnival procession.
Among the traditional carnival floats was a huge Kadhafi mock-up holding a barrel of oil behind his back, skulls at his feet with a character representing the European Union genuflecting before him.
The western city of Cologne in the heart of the predominantly Roman Catholic Rhineland region was where the main Carnival action took place, with a procession seven kilometres (four miles) long.
As tradition dictates, the procession of elaborately decorated floats poked fun at political leaders both domestic and foreign.
One float showed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the shape of a swastika, another depicted the pope holding condoms after he declared it was permissible "in certain cases" to use the contraceptives.
Domestic satire revolved around Germany's former defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a trusted ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country's most popular minister -- until he resigned last week.
Zu Guttenberg fell on his sword following accusations that he had copied large parts of his thesis. One float depicted him in a fighter plane crashing into Merkel's chancellery with the words "Merkel's September 11".
Several carnival-goers wore zu Guttenberg masks in honour of the minister.
© 2011 AFP
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