Festival Disaster

Love Parade Organizer Demands Trial

07.06.2016, Berlin - Interview und Portraits von Rainer Schaller, geschäftsführender Gesellschafter des Unternehmen McFit, im Cyberobics-Flagshipstore. photo: Marko Priske © 2016 www.markopriske.de phone: +49 170 4818957
Rainer Schaller, leader of fitness chain McFit.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Six years ago, 21 people were crushed to death in a mass panic at the Love Parade techno festival in Duisburg. But there has been no trial despite allegations of gross mismanagement.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The Love Parade was first held in Berlin in 1989 as a political demonstration, but turned into a dance event.
    • The festival was held on July 24, 2010, in an old rail depot in Duisburg.
    • Twenty-one people died in a stampede in a tunnel meant to allow people to enter the festival.
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  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Rainer Schaller, the organizer of the 2010 Love Parade techno festival that left 21 dead and more than 500 injured in a mass panic, said it was high time that those responsible were brought to trial.

Mr. Schaller, 47, the founder and chief executive of the McFit chain of gyms who owns the rights to the Love Parade, told Handelsblatt in an interview that he felt a “moral responsibility” for the disaster.

“We urgently need this trial … and I would even say that if I were sitting in the dock,” he said.

The deaths occurred when people were crushed in an overcrowded tunnel that was the only access to the event in the western city of Duisburg. The victims included people from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia, China and the Netherlands.

Despite allegations of gross mismanagement from the families of victims, no members of the city administration, Mr. Schaller’s organizing company Lopavent or the police force, have been brought to trial.

Prosecutors indicted 10 people — 4 employees of the Lopavent and 6 city employees — in February 2014 on charges including involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm.

But a court in Duisburg decided in April that they would not stand trial for lack of a sufficiently strong case to bring to court.

“We just need clarity; we owe that to the victims and their families,” said Mr. Schaller, who was heard as a witness. “What happened in Duisburg wasn’t a natural disaster. People made mistakes there.” He added that his faith in the German justice system had been “sorely dented.”

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