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Stricter rules mean no pony for St Martin
Photo: DPA

Stricter rules mean no pony for St Martin

Published: 09 Nov 2012 16:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Nov 2012 16:41 GMT+01:00

Hundreds of traditional St Martin's day parades had to go without a horse and rider representing St Martin this year, due to stricter health and safety measures introduced following the Love Parade tragedy in 2010.

Although the tradition of children parading through the streets with lanterns is still popular across Germany, it has lost some of its magic for many schools and nurseries because they have had to give up the traditional horse and rider, the regional Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ) newspaper wrote on Friday.

Stricter rules were introduced for public gatherings after the Love Parade catastrophe in 2010 - in which 21 people were killed in am overcrowded tunnel - meaning few can now afford to wade through the paperwork and additional costs associated with hiring a horse for the occasion.

"For the first time we don't have a band, a horse, or a Martin," a mother from a Catholic kindergarten in the Frintrop area of Essen told the paper.

"We need written permission for the horse and we have to prove we have third party insurance for it," said Simone Findt from a nursery in the Rütterscheid area in Essen, adding she got help from parents with the mound of paper work. In a further safety measure, the horse had also to be surrounded by three people at all times, she said.

Such was the shock immediately after the Love Parade tragedy in neighbouring Duisburg in July 2010 that many in Essen cancelled their parades altogether that November, wrote the paper. But despite stricter rules, they seem to be back in full swing this year.

"In 2010 lots of people [in Essen] cancelled their St Martin's day parades. In 2011 there were about 200 of them, and the same this year," said Michaela Lippek from the coordination centre set up in Essen after the Love Parade tragedy.

Special permission is also needed to sell Glühwein to parents and, of course, strict safety measures had to be observed if a bonfire was built. "If that's the only way to prevent an accident happening, then that's ok," said Findt.

The Local/jlb

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Your comments about this article

18:43 November 9, 2012 by Bulldawg82
What do horses have to do with the Love Parade tragedy? Why did they need to be made so hard to approve? It seems to me that if you want to make sure that the Love Parade incident didn't repeat itself, you would make sure that the parade would not go thru tunnels or tight spaces - not eliminate horses and good ol' St. Martin. This restriction does not address any aspect/cause of that tragedy in any meaningful way.
23:03 November 9, 2012 by Englishted
Oh here is a surprise another knee-jerk reaction ,much the same as closing the nuclear plants in case of a tsunami.
03:55 November 10, 2012 by marimay
Have fun in your nanny state. Oh wait, no, fun is dangerous. No fun for you! :)
10:16 November 10, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
I am sure I could have an opinion on this if I could bother my ass to think about it. German culture just does not interest me. They can ban the lot of it if they like. These are just excuses to march in my eyes and it is better if Germans have less marching events in light of their history.
15:39 November 10, 2012 by hanskarl
With these three comments I really can't add anything new. They are so spot on.
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