The city of Duisburg, where 21 people died at the Love Parade techno festival in July, could not stop the publication on the Internet of confidential documents relating to the incident, despite seeking an injunction.
The people of Duisburg demand answers
More than 300 pages of documents containing details on the planning and organization of the Love Parade music festival have appeared on the Internet, despite an attempt by the city of Duisburg to stop them being published.
Duisburg's authorities were harshly criticized after they tried on Monday to obtain an injunction against the news portal xtranews.de, which had published the documents on its blog.
"The council had promised to fully investigate the Love Parade catastrophe where 21 people died," blog writer Thomas Rodenbuecher said.
"And then they try to clamp down on us with such force, that's really not very convincing," he added.
The German Association of Journalists (DJV), the industry's trade union, also condemned the city's actions, accusing it of a "restrictive information policy."
Sauerland has faced harsh criticism
After threatening the portal with fines of up to 250,000 euros ($320,000), the council backtracked on Wednesday, saying that, by now, it would be impossible to stop the documents from being published.
The documents have already appeared on various other websites and the city of Duisburg has said it will not pursue the matter further.
The council had sought the injunction because the documents contained councillors' personal data, such as names and contact addresses.
Meanwhile, Duisburg mayor Adolf Sauerland is still under fire for his handling of the disaster. 8,500 residents have signed a petition calling for his resignation - enough to force the local council to put it on their agenda, which could lead to him being voted out.
In an interview with WDR regional television last Sunday, Sauerland said that he still did not know all the names of those who died at the Love Parade. However, the council later admitted that the names had been available at the local registry office for some time.
Sauerland has so far refused to step down, blaming the organizers of the event instead. 21 people were crushed to death on July 24 when trying to get to the festival site through a tunnel that was not large enough to deal with a crowd that was much larger than expected.
Author: Nicole Goebel (dpa/apn/)
Editor: Rob Turner