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Report: Duisburg shouldn't have approved ill-fated Love Parade

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Report: Duisburg shouldn't have approved ill-fated Love Parade
Photo: DPA
15:34 CEST+02:00
A report by prosecutors investigating the Love Parade tragedy – in which 21 participants were killed in a mass stampede in Duisburg last year – says the event should never have been approved by authorities at all due to poor security arrangements.

The 400 page interim report on the investigation into the July 24, 2010 incident, names some event organizers and one police officer but also 11 officers and employees of Duisburg's city council as potential defendants in prosecutions, according to the Rheinische Post newspaper, which has seen the document.

Although Duisburg Mayor Adolf Sauerland has faced harsh criticism over the past year, the report does not assign him any criminal responsibility, the newspaper reported on Monday.

Instead it names other city officials who had approved the holding of the event despite substandard security arrangements.

On Monday, however, Sauerland said he had "moral responsibility" for what happened.

"As mayor I bear the moral responsibility," he said, speaking before the final city council meeting before the one year anniversary of the tragedy. "It is my personal need to apologize to all victims and survivors."

There was only one entrance and exit into the festival grounds, which became hopelessly overcrowded, prompting a stampede. Most of those killed were trampled in a crowd crush.

“The granting of the permit was unlawful,” the report found, explaining that city officials uncritically accepted the security arrangements proposed by the Love Parade's organizers “although it suffered from significant deficiencies.”

The director of the city's Ordnungsamt, which is responsible for maintaining public order, is also called out for failing to verify whether the Love Parade could be held safely. The report says that had the official made the appropriate checks on the day of the techno festival “he would have recognized the deficiencies and prohibited the opening of the event.”

Charges up to, and including, negligent homicide are being mulled against city officials.

The prosecutor's office absolved police of responsibility for approving the Love Parade in the first place, although they could still be held responsible for some events that transpired on the day of the event, according to the Rheinische Post.

The German Police Union (DPolG) welcomed the news and said police officers had done their best under difficult circumstances.

"Duisburg was unsuitable as a venue, its approval was wrong from the outset,” the union said in a statement.

The Local/mdm

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