Europe

Carnival kicks off in Germany; Trump costumes popular

  • Male dancers perform in front of the world famous Cologne cathedral when tens of thousands revelers dressed in carnival costumes celebrate the start of the street-carnival in  Cologne, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

    Male dancers perform in front of the world famous Cologne cathedral when tens of thousands revelers dressed in carnival costumes celebrate the start of the street-carnival in Cologne, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man with a Donald Trump mask holds a paper reading ' Cuba first, Germany second, Sweden third, USA 69.' when tens of thousands revelers dressed in carnival costumes celebrate the start of the street-carnival in Cologne, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

    A man with a Donald Trump mask holds a paper reading ' Cuba first, Germany second, Sweden third, USA 69.' when tens of thousands revelers dressed in carnival costumes celebrate the start of the street-carnival in Cologne, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)  (The Associated Press)

  • Containers have been set-up to function as road blockers in  downtown  Duesseldorf, Germany, Wednesday Feb. 22. 2017.  On Thursday the popular carnival parades will begin - under more stringent security precautions than ever before. In response to terrorist attacks such as that in Berlin, vehicle barriers will be used in many places. In Cologne on Carnival Sunday and . Rose Monday no trucks over 7.5 tons will be permitted in the city center. (David Young/dpa via AP)

    Containers have been set-up to function as road blockers in downtown Duesseldorf, Germany, Wednesday Feb. 22. 2017. On Thursday the popular carnival parades will begin - under more stringent security precautions than ever before. In response to terrorist attacks such as that in Berlin, vehicle barriers will be used in many places. In Cologne on Carnival Sunday and . Rose Monday no trucks over 7.5 tons will be permitted in the city center. (David Young/dpa via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Germans are braving rain, high winds and tight security to celebrate this year's Carnival season.

Tens of thousands of people joined street parties in the western cities of Cologne, Duesseldorf and Mainz on Thursday for the start of five days of public festivities.

Among the clown and devil costumes seen every year there were also a number of people dressed as Donald Trump.

The U.S. president is expected to feature prominently on the gaudy Carnival floats at next week's "Rose Monday" processions.

Police are out in force this year and authorities have placed heavy barriers at strategic locations amid concerns about possible extremist attacks of the kind that hit a Berlin Christmas market last year, killing 12.

Meteorologists have forecast winds over 100 kph (62 mph) on Friday.