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Mayor refuses to resign over festival planning

DPA/The Local · 26 Jul 2010, 18:12

Published: 26 Jul 2010 11:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Jul 2010 18:12 GMT+02:00

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Authorities had reportedly been warned the western industrial city was too small to hold one of Europe's biggest techno music festivals, while security arrangements have been slammed as woefully inadequate.

Scrutiny quickly focused on Mayor Adolf Sauerland. But Sauerland, while admitting he understood why people were angry with him, said he would stay in the job.

''Today and in the coming days it has to be about working through the terrible event and putting the pieces of the puzzle together into an overall picture,'' he said.

Sauerland also earned widespread scorn for saying on Sunday that the safety plan for the festival had been ''solid.''

He was also reportedly pelted with rubbish.

"The cynical reaction of the mayor, who said the victims' behaviour was partly to blame, was unacceptable," wrote daily Neue Rhein Zeitung in an editorial. "His scandalous position was nothing less than a mockery of the dead – of young people who came from afar to party and who died because of your overburdened organisation."

Monday's edition of the daily Stadt-Anzeiger in nearby Cologne said Sauerland had been warned in writing in October 2009 that the grounds were too narrow for the expected crowds but that the concerns went unheeded.

Story continues below…

Meanwhile news magazine Der Spiegel said that the festival only had authorisation for 250,000 revellers instead of for 1.4 million people who organisers said had attended.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

16:29 July 26, 2010 by vonSchwerin
When it comes to planning events in big city, such as Duisburg, how involved is the mayor? Does he actually get involved in the authorization and planning process, or does he leave that to his subordinates?
19:51 July 26, 2010 by ReaderX
While that indeed may be a good question in light of this tragedy. It still should not alleviate the mayor as being responsible for the safety of his town's residents and guests.

With such a huge event taking place I would highly doubt as to whether this guy had no knowledge or even little knowledge of the major points, such as safety (fire, police, medics) and resources on hand or on a "standby" mode if something were to go wrong. I mean the guy might not know the intricacies of the entire thing ( that should be the job of the staff) but to know nothing of it and to not ask questions about such things would be irresponsible at best. If it were to happen in a commercial arena such as Allianz arena in Munich then, we could most assuredly believe that the government would call for the resignation of the person-in-charge there.
23:51 July 26, 2010 by whatzup
The buck stops with the mayor. Whether or not he was directly involved with the planning for the festival he should accept responsibility and step down. If he doesn't citizens should vote him out and penalize his party.
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