Cologne games show bans toy weapons in wake of terror attacks

Five gamers dressed as characters Image copyright Koelnmesse
Image caption Dressing as video game characters (known as cosplaying) is a long-established trend

Toy weapons have been banned from the German video games event Gamescom, following a series of attacks.

Traditionally the Cologne-based conference encourages people to attend dressed as video game characters.

But ticket holders have now been told that all "imitation weapons or weapon-like items" will be confiscated.

Organiser Koelnmesse said the crackdown was important "to avoid frightening children and families".

Security has been tightened "due to the terrible incidents of the past weeks," the firm explained.

It also asked attendees not to bring bags and rucksacks unless "absolutely necessary".

The event, which this year will be open 18-21 August, traditionally lures more than 300,000 video game enthusiasts, many of which come in cosplay - short for costume play - where they dress as their favourite video game characters.


Germany has been rocked by three attacks in the past month.

On 19 July, a teenage Afghan refugee armed with an axe and knife injured four people on a train in Wuerzburg before being shot dead by police.

Then on 22 July, a shooting at a Munich shopping centre left nine people dead and 16 people injured.

Three days later, a Syrian man detonated a bomb outside a music festival in Ansbach, killing himself and wounding 12 other people.

In the wake of these attacks, Koelnmesse has asked fans to keep cosplay swords and guns away from the city regardless of material or size.

"We would kindly like to ask you to refrain from wearing imitation weapons or weapon-like items also in the city in consideration for the inhabitants and visitors to the city of Cologne."

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