Germany is marking three years since 21 people were killed in a stampede at the Loveparade music festival in the western city of Duisburg. On the eve of the anniversary mourners lit 1,000 candles at the disaster site.
Duisburg residents, victims and survivors gathered at the site of the disaster on Tuesday evening to mark the beginning of memorial events with the "night of 1,000 lights." Ahead of the anniversary of Wednesday, mourners lit 1,000 candles and laid flowers inside the tunnel where the disaster struck.
Twenty-one people were killed in a stampede inside the overcrowded tunnel that served as the main walkway towards the site of the techno music festival on July 24, 2010. As many as 500 people were injured in the panic.
The festival took place at the former freight railway yard in the city in Germany's Ruhr Valley, a venue that was ill-equipped to accommodate the around 1.4 million revellers.
On Wednesday state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hannelore Kraft, is expected to be joined by Duisburg mayor Sören Link in laying wreaths at the site of the disaster. The city's church bells are scheduled to ring at 5 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) to remember the victims. A minutes silence is also planned.
Three years on from the disaster, official investigations into the catastrophe are ongoing. Prosecutors are investigating the cases of 17 people: 11 members of the Duisburg planning council, five employees with the Lopavent company that runs Loveparade, and one police officer.
ccp/jm (AFP, dpa, epd)