Germany tightens carnival security after driver with ‘dead’ expression injures 61

Police forensic officers work at the scene after a car ploughed into a carnival parade injuring several people in Volkmarsen, Germany February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Thilo Schmuelgen

VOLKMARSEN, Germany (Reuters) – Germany increased security at some carnival processions on Tuesday after a local man ploughed his car into a parade in the western German town of Volkmarsen, injuring 61 people, including 20 children.

The incident on Monday shook Germans still struggling to take in last week’s racist gun attack on two bars in the town of Hanau which left 11 people dead.

The Kassel district court ordered the suspect, a 29-year-old German man, remanded in custody on suspicion of attempted murder, grievous bodily harm and dangerous interference with road traffic, a spokesman for the prosecutor said in a statement.

“The accused is suspected of having deliberately steered his car into a large group of people with the intention of killing on 24 February, 2020 at around 2.45 pm (1345 GMT) during the Rose Monday procession in Volkmarsen,” the spokesman added.

Rose Monday is the height of the carnival season in Catholic areas of Germany, especially in the Rhineland where tens of thousands of people dress up, drink alcohol and line the streets to watch decorated floats that often mock public figures.

The 61 people injured – some of them seriously – were aged between two and 85. Investigations into the driver’s motive were continuing and all possibilities were being investigated, the prosecutor’s spokesman added.

While the driver was detained and treated for his own injuries, townspeople puzzled over why he had done it.

“You have to be crazy or blinded by rage to do something like this,” said 58-year-old Volkmarsen native Rainer Bellmann.

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