Photos of the Week: 12/12 - 12/19

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Photos of the Week: 12/12 - 12/19

The best man in a wedding party, who all declined to be identified, holds an AR-10 rifle he was handed while the party was having their pre-wedding portraits taken on the steps of the capitol before a rally nearby by gun-rights advocates to protest a new expanded gun background check law in Washington state Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, in Olympia, Wash. The wedding party was not part of the protest, but posed for pictures with it after being handed it by gun activist Brandon Lyons, who said "we've all just broken the law," by handing the gun over. Saturday's protest was called the "I Will Not Comply" rally, and those attending said they will openly exchange firearms in opposition to the state's new voter-approved universal background check law, Initiative 594. The law, which took effect on Dec. 4, requires background checks on all sales and transfers, including private transactions and many loans and gifts.

Photo Credit: Elaine Thompson, AP Photo

Frontier guards are seen training outside with the temperature of minus thirty degrees celsius on December 16, 2014 in Heihe, Heilongjiang province of China. An infantry company's frontier guards attended a drill outside with the temperature of minus thirty degrees celsius on Tuesday in Heihe.

Photo Credit: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images

DEYANG, CHINA - DECEMBER 19: (CHINA OUT) Firefighters work at an scene of a chain collision accident on December 19, 2014 in Deyang, Sichuan province of China. A chain collision traffic accident happened at Chengnan (Chengdu - Nanchong) expressway and at the same time a liquefied gas tanker exploded, which caused more than ten vehicles involved in and at least three people died. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

The June 27th lava flow from the Kilauea volcano begins to significantly flow again on December 16, 2014 in Pahoa, Hawaii. According to reports, the lava flow break outs have now become the new flow front and is currently one mile from encroaching onto structural property.

Photo Credit: Ena Media Hawaii, Getty Images

A girl stands next to an art installation depicting a gorilla entitled 'Silver Back' by artist David Mach, as she poses for the photographers during a press preview of a themed auction that features the animal as artistic inspiration, entitled 'Creatures Great and Small', in London, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. The two-meter tall gorilla by the Turner Prize nominated artist is the third of an edition of three, the first of which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest art installation made entirely from coat hangers. The sale scheduled for Dec. 17, 2014, explores animals across a diverse range of mediums and styles, from intricate carving details in 19th century furniture through to contemporary sculpture, according to Christie’s auction house.

Photo Credit: Lefteris Pitarakis, AP Photo

A person kneels down near a Christmas light installation in Nice, southeastern France, on December 16, 2014.

Photo Credit: Valery Hache, AFP/Getty Images

A man dressed as a viking (C) joins other participants in the Outdoor Swimming Society's annual 'December Dip' at Parliament Hill lido in north London on December 13, 2014.

Photo Credit: Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images

Two young women look at Taiko, a polar bear playing in its pond, from their lodge in the zoo of the French western city of La Fleche, on December 12, 2014. Every night, polar bears share their zoological park with visitors who wait for their appearances from their cosy lodge.

Photo Credit: Jean-Francois Monier, AFP/Getty Images

Demonstrators take part in a mass 'face-sitting protest' outside the Houses of Parliament in central London on December 12, 2014, as they protest against changes to pornography regulations.

Photo Credit: Leon Neal, AFP/Getty Images

A view of spewing pyroclastic flow from Mount Sinabung volcano eruption is seen from Siosar village on December 14, 2014 in Karo district, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

Photo Credit: Tibt Nangin, Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Matilde Apiñas, 66, weeps in front of the dock while waiting for news of her son, a diver disappeared during the shipwreck, in the Caribbean port of Puerto Cabezas, also known as Bilwi, Nicaragua, Sunday Dec. 14, 2104. Rescue crews have found the fishing boat that capsized last week with 50 people aboard and are still searching for crew members who remain missing, authorities said Sunday.

Photo Credit: Esteban Felix, AP Photo

Morning fog engulfs a village outside Izbasesti, Romania, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Severe fog affected large areas of Romania causing traffic disruptions.

Photo Credit: Vadim Ghirda, AP Photo

A Pakistani army officer, stands in front of a wall riddled with bullet marks, inside the Army Public School attacked last Tuesday by Taliban gunmen, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014. The Taliban massacre that killed more than 140 people, mostly children, at a military-run school in northwestern Pakistan left a scene of heart-wrenching devastation, pools of blood and young lives snuffed out as the nation mourned and mass funerals for the victims got underway.

Photo Credit: Muhammed Muheisen, AP Photo

A hostage runs to armed tactical response police officers for safety after she escaped from a cafe under siege at Martin Place in the central business district of Sydney, Australia, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. New South Wales state police would not say what was happening inside the cafe or whether hostages were being held. But television footage shot through the cafe's windows showed several people with their arms in the air.

Photo Credit: Rob Griffith, AP Photo

A demonstrator chants during a rally in downtown Manhattan in New York, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, during the Justice for All rally and march. In the past three weeks, grand juries have decided not to indict officers in the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York and the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The decisions have unleashed demonstrations and questions about police conduct and whether local prosecutors are the best choice for investigating police.

Photo Credit: John Minchillo, AP Photo

A woman passes by cats after rainfall, in the southern port city of Limassol, Cyprus, Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014. Steady rain, overcast skies and unseasonably cold temperatures over the last 48 hours have resulted in more than twice the average monthly precipitation in the east Mediterranean island.

Photo Credit: Petros Karadjias, AP Photo

This aerial photo shows Shiite faithful pilgrims gather between, the holy shrine of Imam Hussein, top, and the holy shrine of Imam Abbas, bottom, for Arbaeen in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014. The holiday marks the end of the forty day mourning period after the anniversary of the 7th century martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the Prophet Muhammad's grandson.

Photo Credit: Hadi Mizban, AP Photo

Supporter of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hold up masks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an election campaign rally in Kathua, about 90 kilometers from Jammu, India, Saturday, Dec.13, 2014. The final two phases of the five-phased state elections of Jammu and Kashmir will be held on Dec. 14 and 20.

Photo Credit: Channi Anand, AP Photo

A climber dressed as Santa Clause sits on an edge of the Kollhoff Tower ahead of an acrobatic dance show on December 14, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. The acrobatic dance show took place on the facade of the Kollhoff Tower, featuring performers abseiling down the 101 meters to the Potsdamer Platz. Gifts were given to children at the panoramic cafe on the 24th floor and at the bottom of the tower.

Photo Credit: Target Presse Agentur Gmbh, Getty Images

An actors takes part in the reenactment of the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Ardennes also known as the Ardennes counteroffensive or the Battle of the Bulge on December 14,2014 in Recogne, Belgium. The Battle of the Bulge, fought over the winter months of 1944 1945, was the last major Nazi offensive against the Allies in World War II.

Photo Credit: Anthony Dehez, AFP/Getty Images

A view from the roof of Commercial Travellers Club building in Martin Place of the thousands of floral tributes for deceased hostages Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson on December 18, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. Sydney siege gunman Man Haron Monis, was shot dead by police in the early hours of Tuesday morning after taking hostages at the Lindt Chocolat Cafe in Martin Place. Two other people died, 33-year-old cafe manager Tori Johnson and 38-year-old Sydney barrister Katrina Dawson.

Photo Credit: Cole Bennetts, Getty Images

An Iranian woman walks past mannequins locked to a gas pipe in northern Tehran on December 15, 2014.

Photo Credit: Behrouz Mehri, AFP/Getty Images

Members of the public enjoy a ride on the star flyer on December 18, 2014 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The star flyer is one of a number of rides situated in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh along with a ice rink carousel and Big Wheel, open from late November and running until January 4, 2015.

Photo Credit: Jeff J Mitchel, Getty Images

A man stands by tombstones carrying names of Romanian military personnel killed in fighting around the Otopeni airport during the anticommunist uprising 25 years ago, outside Bucharest, Romania, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. The uprising, which left more than thousands dead, and ended the rule of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was executed, started in the western Romanian town of Timisoara on Dec. 16, 1989.

Photo Credit: Vadim Ghirda, AP Photo

People march across the traffic-designated section of the Brookyln Bridge during the National March Against Police Violence, which was organized by National Action Network on December 13, 2014 in New York City. The march coincided with a march in Washington D.C. and comes on the heels of two grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of two unarmed black men.

Photo Credit: Andrew Burton, Getty Images

The uncle and cousin of injured student Mohammad Baqair, center, comfort him as he mourns the death of his mother who was a teacher at the school which was attacked by Taliban, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing more than 100, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months.

Photo Credit: Mohammad Sajjad, AP Photo

Chinese laborers organize old televisions and computers to be recycled in the Dong Xiao Kou village on December 11, 2014 in Beijing, China. The village, is made up mostly of families of poor migrant workers that have come from surrounding provinces and are some of the tens of thousands of scrap peddlers surviving on recycling goods collected in China's capital. China is the world's biggest generator of solid waste and as the country's population and economy continue to grow the peddlers are integral to the waste and recycling management system in major cities.

Photo Credit: Kevin Frayer, Getty Images

India schoolgirls offer prayers for victims killed in a Taliban attack on a military-run school in Peshawar, in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Pakistan is mourning as the nation prepares for mass funerals for more than 141 people, most of them children, a day after seven Taliban gunmen, explosives strapped to their bodies, stormed the army public school.

Photo Credit: Rafiq Maqbool, AP Photo

Florin Bors, aged 8 from Bacau, northern Romania, wearing a bear fur takes a break from performing a holiday season ritual in Bucharest, Romania, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. In pre-Christian rural traditions, dancers wearing colored costumes or animal furs, touring house to house in villages singing and dancing to ward off evil. In recent years following the economic downturn in Romania, a European Union member since 2007, the tradition has moved to Romania's cities where dancers travel to perform the ritual for money.

Photo Credit: Octav Ganea, Mediafax/AP Photo

Window cleaners dressed as zodiac animal of horse, and sheep clean the glass exterior of a hotel in Tokyo, Friday, Dec. 19, 2014. During the year end “zodiac" hand over event, the outgoing Year of Horse handed a window wiper to successor the Year of Sheep.

Photo Credit: Eugene Hoshiko, AP Photo

A man disguised as Santa Claus waves to people after getting his fake beard stuck on the pulley after sliding down, at Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 18, 2014.

Photo Credit: Yasuyoshi Chiba, Getty Images



Happy Holidays! Whether you're currently celebrating Hanukkah, or still awaiting a holiday coming up, take some time to relax and take a look back at this past week in photos.

A Washington couple took some unforgettable wedding photos this week, thanks in part to gun-rights activists in Washington state. The "I Will Not Comply" rally took place on December 13th in Olympia, Washington to protest Initiative 594, which expanded background checks on gun purchases. The bride and groom were not a part of the protest, nor were the members of their wedding party, but the collision of these two events sure made for an interesting sight at the state's capitol.

In world news, several scenes in this week's photo roundup came from some heartbreaking circumstances, including the tense hostage situation in a Sydney cafe that lead to a shootout and left two people, and the gunman, dead. Locals have left thousands of floral bouquets and other gifts at the site of the attack in remembrance of the two citizens who lost their lives. In the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, a school was attacked by Taliban gunmen in a massacre that killed more than 140 people.

Thankfully, with the bad comes the good -- including people around the globe really getting into the holiday spirit. In Berlin, a climber dressed as Santa was spotted ringing a bell as he sat on a ledge of the Kollhoff Tower before he took place in an acrobatic dance show. In London, costumed participants jumped into what we imagine was a freezing cold pool as part of the Outdoor Swimming Society's annual "December Dip." And, in Japan, two window cleaners prepared for the new year by dressing as the zodiac animals of a horse and a sheep, the horse for this past year and the sheep for the year to come.

Click through the slideshow above for more of our favorite photos from this week, including a friendly polar bear in France and more from recent protests around the United States.

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