The 2010 iteration of popular German dance music festival Love Parade took place in Duisburg, boasting a lineup that featured Tiësto, David Guetta, Boys Noize, Fedde Le Grande, ATB, and many more. That year, investigators estimated that approximately 500,000 people attended the fest despite the location's capacity, which was only 250,000.
Even though the capacity was over double its limit, large crowds were funneled through one single underpass, which quickly became inundated with anxious festival-goers. This induced a panic, which led to an ensuing stampede, which killed a total of 21 people aged between 18 and 38 years.
At the time, an eyewitness trapped in the tunnel recalled seeing "...all these twisted-up bodies of those who had been crushed." The woman, who was able to get out safely, added, "They were lying at the tunnel exit. Their faces had all turned blue."
In 2014, a total of ten people were formally charged with negligent manslaughter, including the festival's organizers. “Something happened on July 24, 2010 that should never have happened," said Duisburg prosecutor Horst Bien. “We weren’t looking to see who was morally or politically responsible but instead focused only on who was criminally liable.”
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Fast-forward to 2020, when the case was shockingly abandoned by a German court. According to German news outlet Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), the court cited COVID-19 concerns as the deciding factor, stating that the pandemic was making it difficult to move forward with litigation proceedings. Distraught relatives of the victims, who entered the trial as co-plaintiffs, vehemently opposed the decision, but their approval is not required under German law.