German Rage Over Festival Deaths Focuses On Mayor

The mayor of the German city where 21 people were crushed to death at a music festival last weekend is facing growing pressure to resign amid nationwide outrage over the tragedy.

Mayor Adolf Sauerland appears to be losing support even from his own conservative party in the fallout from the disaster that also injured more than 500 people.

Wolfgang Bosbach, a leading lawmaker with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, said late Thursday that he believes the mayor bears political responsibility for possible mistakes made by the city.

Anger has been building in recent days ahead of a memorial for the victims planned for Saturday, which Merkel and President Christian Wulff are to attend.

Sauerland has said he would not attend Saturday’s memorial out of respect for the feelings for the victims and their loved ones.

However, he has rejected calls that he resign saying he feels he has done nothing wrong and that resigning now would imply that he and city administrators had done something wrong.

On Thursday about 250 people waged a protest in central Duisburg demanding his resignation. Some chanted “Sauerland, Go!”

Photo: AP Photo
Demolished crowd barriers in the tunnel in Duisburg, Germany, after a stampede at the Love Parade music festival.

A preliminary report by a police investigators on Wednesday accused the organizer of last weekend’s Love Parade techno festival of major security breaches which may have led to the crush. But it left many unanswered questions regarding the responsibility of the Duisburg municipality, which was responsible for overseeing the event.

The crush occurred in a jammed tunnel that was the sole entrance to the festival grounds. More than 500 people were injured.