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    Love Parade Stampede Organizers Defend Themselves


    by NTDTelevision

    Organizers of the German Love Parade music festival continue to defend their actions, three days after 20 people were killed during a mass panic at the event.

    [Rainer Schaller, Love Parade organiser]:
    "We installed 16 controlled gates at the west end of the tunnel to make sure that the flow of visitors could be controlled. After talking to the police, we closed 10 of the 16 gates on the west side because the tunnel was threatening to overflow. Going by the information we have at the moment, the police leaders gave the order to open all 16 gates at a later time. We don't know why this order was given.”

    The revellers died when panic broke out at the techno music festival on Saturday, July 24, in the western city near the Dutch border.

    Authorities earlier raised the number of injured to 511, including 43 seriously hurt and one in critical condition.

    Many Germans were baffled that such a tragedy could occur in their highly organized and closely regulated country.

    According to spokesperson, Ulrich Wilhelm, Chancellor Angela Merkel expects a quote, "scrupulously thorough" investigation into the tragedy.

    Eight foreigners -- from Spain, Bosnia, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy and China -- were among those killed when young people pushed through an underpass into the techno festival grounds at a former freight rail yard.

    Investigators have been looking at possible charges of negligent homicide.

    The Duisburg State prosecutor says they will examine the security plans and find out why an event set up for 250,000 people ended up with between 500,000 and 1 million.

    Schaller says he and his team will help in any way they can.

    The Love Parade originated in Berlin with a population of 3.4 million and was held in a giant park in Germany's largest city until 2006.