Love Parade music fest axed after 19 deaths

German authorities launch negligent homicide probe

The organizer of the Love Parade is pulling the plug on the techno music festival in Germany for good after 19 people were killed in a stampede at the entrance to the grounds in the western city of Duisburg on Saturday.

“The Love Parade was always a peaceful event and happy party,” organizer Rainer Schaller said at a news conference in Duisburg on Sunday. “It will now forever be associated with this tragedy and that’s why the Love Parade won’t happen any more.”

German prosecutors have launched a negligent homicide investigation after authorities were unable to explain how the tragedy happened near a tunnel that led to a ramp into the grounds where 1.4 million revellers had gathered. Most of the victims, aged 20 to 40, were found dead on the ramp, 342 were injured.

Schaller, a businessman who operates a chain of fitness studios in Germany, rescued the Love Parade from a troubled run in 2006 after disputes with authorities in Berlin had caused the event, billed as the world’s biggest open-air techno party, to be cancelled several times.

The Love Parade began in West Berlin in 1989, just four months before the Berlin Wall collapsed, and grew into a gigantic party attracting up to 1.5 million ravers from across Europe and around the world.

Similar Love Parades have been staged in San Francisco, Mexico City, Zurich, Acapulco, Vienna, Cape Town, Tel Aviv, Sydney, Santiago, Rio de Janeiro, Oslo and Budapest.

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