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Love Parade memorial held in Duisburg

AFP · 31 Jul 2010, 15:35

Published: 31 Jul 2010 15:35 GMT+02:00

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Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff were among several hundred mourners in a church service beamed onto big screens in and around Duisburg's football stadium.

A large black cross several metres high was set up on the pitch. Many of those in the stadium wore black and had tears in their eyes. The solemn ceremony was also carried live on television.

Before the service, church bells rang mournfully out across the industrial western city of half a million people. Flags were lowered to half-mast, both in Duisburg and across the whole of a shocked Germany.

"I was there, working as a helper and saw it all happen. A friend of mine was hurt," Markus Spanke, aged around 20, told news agency AFP in the stadium. "I will never forget it."

"We were at the Love Parade, we saw everything from the bridge. We can't shake those images of panic from our heads," said Phil Napeirala, 21, from nearby Essen.

Later on Saturday a march was due to take place from Duisburg train station towards the narrow tunnel that served as the only entrance to the grounds hosting the techno music festival. Reports said 20,000 people were expected.

It was in this lethally packed bottleneck of a tunnel, now a solemn sea of candles, flowers and photos, that the victims died as revellers desperately tried to escape.

The dead included seven foreigners, from Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, China, Bosnia and Spain, who had come for one of Europe's top techno events. More than 500 people were hurt, 25 of whom are reportedly still in hospital.

One man absent from public view however was Adolf Sauerland, the mayor, who has come under intense pressure to resign amid accusations that he ignored warnings that the event was a disaster waiting to happen.

An interim police report on Wednesday also put the blame on Love Parade organizers, listing a catalogue of catastrophic mistakes in managing the crowd of hundreds of thousands. Prosecutors have opened an investigation.

The grounds opened nearly two hours late, leading to an initial blockage in the tunnel, Dieter Wehe, chief of police in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said as he presented the preliminary findings.

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Following the delay, police said organisers were incapable of dispersing the crowds at the tunnel's exit, partly because there were fewer stewards than promised and partly because there were no loudspeakers to control the crowd.

When the scale of the crush became clear, police ordered stewards to close the heaving access points but this order was not carried out, Wehe said, fighting back tears at a news conference.

"It's going to take a long time before Duisburg can get back to normal," Reiner, a mourner at the football stadium, told AFP.

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Your comments about this article

20:56 July 31, 2010 by dcgi
Got to love the banner..

"In loving memory of those who didn't deserve to die at all! We'll never forget! God please save [their] souls!"

".. Didn't deserve to die at all?" That kind of implies that some people do deserve to die?! :-S

Then again, maybe a case of lost in translation...
01:34 August 1, 2010 by MrOlsen
If God exists why didn't he prevent theses people from dying in the first place?

I find the big black cross quite disturbing. The victims came from all over the world. Did anyone check that everyone who died was devoted to christianity?

I would not like to be honoured with christian symbols, neither alive or dead.
11:06 August 1, 2010 by ngwanem
@ MrOlsen,

i find your point interesting but unfortunately your argument falls under a common fallacy in atheism.

First of all, it would be false to state: "if God exists, why didn't He..." because:

at first you believe He doesn't exist and your argument should first rest on the point if he exists or not before moving to the next point on if he existed, what should he have done if he existed.

Helas! The second point involves your reasoning that presupposes the existence of God because you wonder aloud that in such a case He existed He should have done something :)

Well, even if the victims were all non-christian, the march was done in their memory because the question would also have been, did you atheists also march out separately to remember them? In all cases, if you were mingled with the other religious guys and you did grieve for them, you have done your own part and that is good, why angry another group did the same even if the victims did not share the same tenets of belief as the sympathizers.

Well i think people will respect your wish not to honor you with christian symbols, dead or alive but what would you do if are dead and they do that? sue them?
13:22 August 1, 2010 by MrOlsen
@ ngwanem: Well, it's a question for those asking God to save these people's souls. A rather rethorical question. I do not assume God exist.
16:05 August 1, 2010 by geeqkool4max
Its really quite unfortunate that the event didn't yield out something good.All that came after were tragic news. But all the same, the living have to move forward,I strongly disagree with the one that said that God does not exist,You are a human and were created by the Almighty Father who also created the Heavens and Earth.

I firmly admit that God knows everything that happens, but in this particular issue, God cannot stop the event because the Bible says that when God demoted Satan, He did not take back the Power He assigned to initially to the Satan. It means that Satan still has the Power to invade and ruin the lives of the People created by God.

Another question one should ask when it comes to God's terms is, Was the event something to the Glory of God? Because God works practically where His Name is often mentioned. God should not be blamed at all for what happened because the Devil lives. I think precisely that this argument leads one to nowhere other than to join hands together to console those who lost their LOVED ones in event. God Bless You all.
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