Berlin Holds Annual Love Parade
Jul. 11, 1998
BERLIN (AP) _ Thumping electronic music pumped from megaspeakers on 50 floats as people danced in the streets Saturday for Berlin's 10th annual Love Parade, the world's biggest party for fans of techno music.
Despite an hourlong downpour, parade organizers estimated the crowd at about 500,000 in the mid-afternoon.
Since the first Love Parade a decade ago _ when about 50 people danced behind a Volkswagen van _ the psychedelic parade has blossomed into an event drawing tourists from around the world.
``It's so full that if you're sandwiched among a group of people who are dancing rhythmically, you simply have to join in,'' Berlin city-state Interior Minister Joerg Schoenbohm said.
The parade has its critics. Environmentalists say trees and soil are trashed, and some city officials complain about post-parade cleanup and repairs.
This year, the Berlin administrative court ordered the parade organizer _ multimedia firm Planetcom _ to place dozens of trash cans along the parade route through the Tiergarten park.
The parade spokesman, who goes by the name Disko, said organizers complied with the order but he didn't think it would help much. He said he expected three times more garbage than last year.
Though the event is registered as a political demonstration and not a commercial event, hotels, restaurants, bars and dance clubs rejoice at the extra business, estimated at $100 million in 1997.
After closing ceremonies, the party was expected to continue through the night at Berlin's numerous techno clubs.