Officials seize Love Parade documents from organiser’s offices

The Duisburg public prosecutor sent officials to seize documents from the offices of Love Parade organiser Rainer Schaller, as well as two private security firms who were involved in the event last month in which 21 people died.

Officials seize Love Parade documents from organiser's offices
Rainer Schaller. Photo: DPA

Six Lopavent offices in Berlin, Duisburg, Essen and Cologne as well as Taufkirchen in Bavaria and Schlüsselfeld in Franken – where Schaller’s fitness studio firm McFit is based – were searched at the start of last week, Der Spiegel reported on Saturday.

The search warrants, which were approved by the Duisburg administrative court on August 9, provided for the seizure of data about organisational structures, contracts and personal information about those employed on the Love Parade.

In addition, the magazine reported that newly-emerged documents from the Duisburg city administration show that police felt deceived by the organisers ahead of the event.

During a meeting of the security working group on June 18, Düsseldorf police chief Jörg Schalk criticised the publicity campaign of the organisers – which spoke of millions of visitors despite not expecting so many to show up, nor preparing for such numbers.

“In particular the statements about the size of the planned event lead to suspicions of a publicity strategy which does not meet the actual possibilities of the event area and thus also not the necessary security considerations,” he is quoted as saying in the confidential notes of the meeting, which Der Spiegel has seen.

The disused railway goods yard which was the scene of the Love Parade party, was approved for 250,000 visitors, yet Schaller and Duisburg mayor Adolf Sauerland repeatedly spoke publicly about expecting more than a million visitors.

Sauerland recently admitted lying about the expected visitor numbers – a strategy harshly criticised by Schalk back in June, saying it was being suggested to the public that such a large crowd could be accommodated without difficulty.

In fact, Schalk warned that the party venue could reach capacity and become overfull, leading to problems in the access areas – which is what happened, with the tunnel through which people were arriving and leaving, becoming full, leading to a crush in which people died and were injured.

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