In Colombia, police students who wore SS uniforms and displayed Nazi symbols on the occasion of a “cultural exchange” with Germany caused outrage.

Around a dozen photos of the celebration of the police school in Tulua, southwest Colombia, were posted on the police's official Twitter account, causing the authorities to need explanations.

The German and Israeli embassies in Bogotá condemned this belittling of Nazi rule, and Colombia's head of state Iván Duque apologized publicly.

The photos show police students in Wehrmacht and SS uniforms with swastika armbands.

One of the men even has a small Hitler beard.

Two policemen in Nazi uniforms pose in front of a paper mache castle backdrop, while a third has positioned himself with a German shepherd at his feet.

Other police students wear T-shirts with the German word “Polizei” on them.

In the hall in which the celebration took place, there are flags of the Federal Republic of Germany and balloons in the national colors of black, red, and gold, as well as reproductions of a historic Luftwaffe aircraft and imitations of weapons used by the Nazis.

Tablecloths with swastikas can also be seen in the photos.

The Simon Bolivar Police School in Tulua is organizing an "international week with Germany as the host country," commented the police on the strange action on the Twitter online service.

"With this cultural exchange we are promoting the knowledge of our police students."

The supposed cultural exchange met with bewilderment in online networks.

Colombia's head of state Duque felt compelled to comment.

"Any apology of Nazism is unacceptable," he wrote on Friday (local time) on Twitter.

He condemned any display or allusion to "symbols that refer to or allude to those responsible for the Jewish Holocaust that killed more than six million people."

The police dismissed the head of the police school for this type of "history educational activity".

The Ministry of Defense, which is responsible for the police in Colombia, stressed that the event did not in any way comply with the political guidelines for the training of security forces.

In a joint declaration, the German and Israeli embassies in Bogotá expressed “their complete rejection of any form of playing down or displaying National Socialism”. 

The reputation of the Colombian police had already suffered badly in the spring when they violently suppressed protests against the government.

That is why she is currently running an image campaign that includes extensive communication in online networks.

The Colombian police officers are also expected to get a new uniform soon.

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