Organizers most blamed for Love Parade stampede tragedy

10:09, July 29, 2010      

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State authorities' preliminary investigation showed on Wednesday that the organizers of the music festival Love Parade in the German city Duisburg should bear the most blame for the fatal stampede which killed 21 people and injured more than 500 others last Saturday.

The interior minister of the German state of North Rhine- Westphalia (NRW), Ralf Jaeger, presented an interim report on the investigation on Wednesday afternoon, saying the organizers had failed to adhere to their prescribed safety concept and must therefore shoulder most of the blame.

Jaeger said the organizing company, Rainer Schaller's Lopavent, had failed to prevent the flow of people from entering the tunnel when the situation was already tense at the entrance to the festival grounds.

"Security did not fulfill its duty," said the state's chief police controller, Dieter Wehe, who doubted whether the company had placed 150 staff at the entrance area as it had planned, as the current security detail was "insufficient."

Before the release of the interim report, Schaller had denied allegations against him on security defects. "Without the official stamp of approval we would never let the Love Parade take place," he was quoted as saying by the Bild daily on Wednesday.

Jaeger said the following investigation will focus on finding out the reasons why organizers did not implement their own crowd control plans and why the city had approved the Love Parade event.

Wehe also pointed out some wrongdoings by the Duisburg municipality, which approved the event and thus bore the overseeing responsibility.

He said the police did not get the final authorization providing all organizational details until Saturday, the same day of the Love Parade, after requesting for many times.

The authorization only allows a maximum of 250,000 people in the area, while the real number of people who went there reached about 1.4 million.

The police had warned the city beforehand about the possible troubles within the entrance area, said Wehe, as the emergency exits and escape routes allowed by the authorization were not long and wide enough as required by German laws.

Over the past few days, the mayor of the host city Duisburg, Adolf Sauerland, has taken much blame from the public and media.

Sauerland was asked to resign, but he refused, saying that resignation means admitting the responsibility.

On Saturday, a memorial service for the victims of the incident will be held in Duisburg. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff are expected to attend, but Sauerland will not, in order to avoid upsetting the family and friends of the victims.

Source: Xinhua


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