The Love Parade Blame Game (Broadsheet Opinion Piece)
In 2010, a tragedy occurred at the Love Parade where the entrance to the festival became dangerously overcrowded and 21 people died in a crush due to pressure on the crowd. One can only draw parallels to the events of the 15th of April 1989 in which football fans faced a similar tragedy at Hillsborough due to the capacity of the event not monitored correctly being. This deadly systematic failure can be attributed to two parties, the police, and the event organizers.
If we look directly at the footage given to us by the festival organizers, we can clearly see that the police are directly responsible for the tragedy as they trapped the large crowd using poorly coordinated police cordons at all entrances of the festival. This caused a large number of people to be trapped in one place by police barricades causing people to flee the crush, “They were walking into each other and tried to run upstairs and to climb up the flood defense. It was an absolute panic situation,” Alex Dueben, a victim told Reuters. The counterargument is that the layout of the entrance of the festival is inappropriate for the capacity. A study done by the University of Duisburg-Essen states that ‘the width of the entry ramp to the festival area was too narrow to cover the demand’. As the festival was a free event with an estimated attendance of 200,000 and 1.4 million people, the 250,000 capacity of the grounds was catastrophically overlooked by organizers.
Personally, I hold the organizers responsible, their defensive stance against a situation out of control by the victims shows a lack of respect. Their blame game against the police is also a poorly constructed argument as the police were only trying to prevent the situation that was created by the lack of consideration concerning capacity. Their self-released documentary plays off almost as propaganda as it clearly places full blame on the police where the conditions for the size of the crowd are grossly underestimated which can be seen by the amount of shown people entering and exiting the festival throughout the day.
The outcome of this led to a trial on the 8th of December 2017 in Dusseldorf, this preceded 183 trial days. The trial became one of the largest criminal trials in German history with the defendants represented by 32 lawyers and the prosecutors by 40 lawyers. After all the complex bureaucracy court ruled that the festival grounds were ‘too small’. The aftermath of the trial led to the organizers being blamed however nobody was prosecuted. An unjust conclusion to this story as justice was not served to the victims involved especially considering the amount of money spent on lawyers.