Germany holds memorial for people killed at Love Parade

10:41, August 01, 2010      

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(L-R)Norbert Lammert, president of the German Bundestag (lower house of parliament), German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bettina Wulff, her husband German President Christian Wulff and North Rhine-Westphalia's State Premier Hannelore Kraft attend a commemoration service for the stampede victims at the Salvatorkirche church in Duisburg of Germany on July 31, 2010. Thousands of people gathered in Duisburg on Saturday to pay their respects to the 21 people who died in the July 24 Love Parade tragedy. (Xinhua/State Office Nordrhein-Westfalen/Uta Wagner)

Thousands of people on Saturday attended a memorial service for the victims of the Love Parade techno music festival where 21 people were fatally crushed and 500 others injured.

The memorial at Salvator Church in the western city of Duisburg began with somber organ music and was shown on screens in a football stadium and a dozen other churches. Several TV stations carried the service live, and flags across Germany flew at half-mast.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who interrupted her summer holiday, and President Christian Wulff attended the memorial. Relatives of the victims were also present.

The 21 people who died at the July 24 festival were aged 18 to 38 and included foreigners from China, Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia, and Holland.

The memorial was led by Roman Catholic and Lutheran Protestant clerics _ representing Germany's two main denominations.

"The Love Parade was danced to death," Nikolaus Schneider, the head of the Rhineland Lutheran church assembly, said in his sermon. "In the middle of a celebration of lust for life, death showed its ugly face to all of us."

North Rhine-Westphalia State Premier, Hannelore Kraft asked for explanations for the tragedy, saying "Who is to bear the blame? Who is responsible?"

A preliminary report by police investigators Wednesday accused the organizer of the Love Parade of major security breaches which may have led to the crush. But it left many unanswered questions regarding the responsibility of the Duisburg municipality, which was to oversee the event.

The crush occurred in the jam-packed tunnel that was the sole entrance point to the festival grounds.

Source: Xinhua

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