Chancellorand Federal President Christian Wulff will attend the ecumenical memorial service on Saturday for the victims of the deadly tragedy at the Loveparade in Duisburg. North Rhine-Westphalia Minister President Hannelore Kraft will speak at the service in the Salvatore Church, which will be led by both a Lutheran and a Catholic bishop.
Enlarge image North Rhine-Westphalia Minister President Hannelore Kraft signed a book of condolence in the state parliament building in Düsseldorf on Tuesday.(© picture-alliance/dpa)
Chancellor Merkel expressed her horror and sorrow over the tragedy at the Loveparade in Duisburg, where 21 people were killed and hundreds injured in a mass panic, and called for a comprehensive investigation. She said the Federal Government has offered the state government in North Rhine-Westphalia all the support it might need.
Authorities and officials owe it to the victims now to examine intensively how something like this could happen, Chancellor Merkel said. The many young people who came with their friends to take part had an unbelievably difficult experience and are left with horrible memories, Merkel lamented. “We must do everything to make sure that something like this never happens again.” The parents who allowed their children to go to such a massive event must also be sure that it could never happen again.
A panic broke out on Saturday, July 24, among masses of people trying to traverse a tunnel to and from the site of the techno music festival at the former freight rail station in Duisburg. Among the dead are individuals from Australia, China, Italy and the Netherlands.
Leaders from outside Germany have expressed their condolences, with Russian President, and EU Commission President José Manual Barroso among those expressing their sympathy.
Festival moved to Ruhr region
The Loveparade, first held in Berlin in 1989, moved to the Ruhr region in western Germany in 2007 and 2008, when it was held in Essen and Dortmund, respectively. The move to the Ruhr region seemed to revive the free-wheeling festival and it attracted well over 1 million people in each of those years. However, the city of Bochum cancelled the event in 2009 because of concerns that the location could not handle the expected size of the crowd. This year the Loveparade was staged as part of the program for RUHR.2010 as the former industrial region celebrates Essen’s year as European Capital of Culture.