Ten people have been charged on counts of involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm over a 2010 stampede at the Love Parade festival in Duisburg, Germany, that left 21 dead, The Guardian reports. Charges were leveled against six private event organizers and four city workers, all of whom face five years in jail if convicted.
Hundreds were injured in the stampede, which took place in a tunneled underpass that connected the Love Parade’s main area and an expansion site that was opened nearby when far more people than expected showed up. Duisburg prosecutors say the free dance festival was set up for 250,000 people but nearly 500,000 attended, and the festival’s entrance gate was far too small to handle that many people.
“Something happened on 24 July 2010 that should never have happened,” city prosecutor Horst Bien said. “We weren’t looking to see who was morally or politically responsible but instead focused only on who was criminally liable.”
The 10 people charged have denied any wrongdoing. Bien argued, however, that event employees should have done a better job of planning the festival, especially after concerns were raised about the number of attendees, and that city officials should not have given Love Parade a permit to go ahead. According to reports, even after the stampede, the festival was allowed to continue as organizers feared a cancelation would cause even more chaos.
Despite official charges being leveled, it is unclear what happens next as the Duisburg state court now has to decide whether or not the case will go to trial.