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- Posted on Jul 24th 2010 8:30PM by Liz Colville
The stampede is believed to have broken out inside a tunnel shortly after festival security attempted to direct entering festivalgoers out of the overcrowded venue. Police had already closed off the event, but evidently the venue was already well over capacity.
Panic set in, and though the victims' causes of death are not yet known, it is believed they were trampled to death amid the chaos. Dozens of others were injured. The heavy congestion in and around the tunnel prevented emergency workers from reaching the victims quickly. Pictures on the New York Times website show festivalgoers clambering up a hillside following the stampede in an attempt to leave the area. Onlookers from an area above the tunnel also helped pull some people out of the crowd.
Festival organizers had opened only one entrance to the festival grounds, adding to the congestion. One emergency worker told a German television station that the panic may have been sparked when a number of people tried to enter the festival by climbing a fence and fell.
Despite the tragic events of the afternoon, the festival continues as planned.
The Love Parade began as a peace movement in 1989 and has endured since then as a celebration of dance music, though it moved from its original setting of Berlin to the Ruhr region, in western Germany, in 2007.
The official website of the festival has been changed to a simple black background in tribute to the accident. The website reads: "Our wish to arrange a happy togetherness was overshadowed by the tragic accidents today. Therefore we are ending the live stream of the Loveparade. Our sincere condolences to all the relatives and our thoughts are with all of those who are currently being taken care of."
The Al Jazeera news video below shows the direct aftermath of the stampede and includes statements from emergency workers, witnesses and others.