Blog Status: Ella is comprehending the tragedy in Duisburg
I'm not sure how many headlines this has made around the world, but here in Germany it has been front page news for days.
The Love Parade first occurred just months before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It was started by the Berlin underground at the initiative of Matthias Roeingh aka "Dr Motte" and his then girlfriend Danielle de Picciotto. It was conceived as a political demonstration for peace and international understanding through love and music. It was supposed to be a bigger birthday party for Roeingh, later "Dr Motte", and the Motto "Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen" (Eng. Peace, Joy, Pancakes) stood for disarmament (Peace), music (Joy) and a fair food production/distribution (Pancakes). Roeingh dissociated himself from the Love Parade in 2006 due to the commercialization of the event.
The event has been held almost every year since then, with annual attendances around 1 million people. It was touted as the largest Techno Party in the world. This year's Love Parade was held this past saturday in the city of Duisburg, about a half hour drive from where I'm currently staying.
The event was staged in an old industrial railway station. The capacity of the enclosed location was limited to 500,000 people at most, but at least one million visitors were expected, based on the experience of previous years.There was only one entrance to the event location, a relatively small rainway tunnel.
Between 100,000 and 200,000 people entered the tunnel, and just before 5pm when the main music act was about to start, hundreds of thousands of extra people swarmed the tunnel in hopes of getting into the concert. Mass panic ensued, thousands of people got stuck in the tunnel because they could not move, some attempted to climb up the metal framework of the tunnel and fell. In the end 20 people were killed and over 350 others were seriously injured either from falling or being trampled to death.
Both the city of Duisburg and the event promoters are pushing the fault onto the other, but the result remains that 20 families' lives have forever been shattered. The Love Parade has been cancelled indefinitely.
My heart goes out to all the victims of this terrible tragedy.