Gale warning puts dampener on Cologne Carnival procession

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Organizers are banning horses, large puppets and flags during the main procession at this year's street Carnival in Cologne because of a gale warning.

The Carnival committee and city authorities said Sunday that the measures should ensure the traditional Rose Monday procession can take place despite strong winds.

Organizers in nearby Duesseldorf and Mainz have yet to decide whether to go ahead with their processions Monday.

Aside from the weather, authorities in Cologne have placed a particular focus on security this year, to prevent a repeat of the string of robberies and sexual assaults that occurred in the city at New Year.

Police say they've received 420 criminal complaints since Thursday, including 38 of a sexual nature ranging from insults to rape. A comparable figure for 2015 wasn't immediately available.