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Pressure grows for Duisburg mayor to resign

DDP/The Local · 29 Jul 2010, 08:40

Published: 29 Jul 2010 08:40 GMT+02:00

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“The Duisburg mayor and those responsible in the city leadership will have to take on the political responsibility in the end,” premier Hannelore Kraft told daily Rheinische Post.

But Sauerland continued to resist calls to step down, telling daily Bild that the mayor’s job was not to give clearance for such events, as some have suggested. On Thursday morning, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Duisburg city hall chanting, "Sauerland go!"

In another interview, Sauerland told the WAZ media group that he did not feel even partially responsible for the July 24 catastrophe, when overcrowding and alleged poor management by event organiser Lopavent led to the deaths of 21 people in a massive crush.

“There can only be personal responsibility when there has been wrongful engagement in the process,” he told the paper. “But this didn’t happen.”

The city administration had cleared Lopavent’s plans for the event, he said.

“Now it needs to be clarified whether the administration made mistakes or if they were falsely informed,” he said, adding that he wanted to help clarify the turn of events from his position as mayor.

But state premier Kraft told Rheinische Post Sauerland was making a false connection between stepping down and taking personal responsibility for the disaster.

“There is no connection here,” she said.

Story continues below…

Kraft added that the mayor’s decision not to attend the memorial for the victims on Saturday was appropriate because he and his family had been threatened.

Sauerland had said he did not want “to hurt the feelings of the families and cause provocation by his presence.”

As well as demanding Sauerland's resignation, the crowd of protesters on Thursday held placards with slogans such as, "Who is to blame?" in red letters. The crowd later observed a moment of silence for the victims. Some protesters then began a march around the city centre.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:16 July 29, 2010 by hanskarl
The final oversight in the planning lies with the Duisburg city officials and police. These officials comprehensively know the city better than anyone else. As the overseers to the plan they had the final authority and power to effect changes or inhibit the plans to make it manageable.

There are too many missing links to place the blame solely on Schaller alone. Yes, he and his associates are part of the blame but not the whole. This seems to be a case of turning on the lights of the nation after a horrific tragedy and all the officials who participated run and hide in the shadows.
15:34 July 29, 2010 by moistvelvet
I agree that although fingers of blame are being pointed towards the officials, many others influenced the carnage either by what they didn't do or what they did do.

Whether it be the organisers taking short cuts, the authorities not exercising their authority, or parts of the crowd that simply cannot stand and wait, blame shouldn't be automatically applied to those who sought to gain profit.

It seems that within a love parade that was supposed to be full of love, harmony and love thy neighbour came voices of "FECK off out of my way, I'm using your head as a step".
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