Trial over 'Love Parade' deaths begins in Germany

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Ten people went on trial in Germany on Friday for alleged failures in planning the “Love Parade” music festival in 2010 when 21 people were killed and more than 650 injured in a stampede.

Prosecutors have charged the defendants, four employees of the company that planned the event in the industrial city of Duisburg and six from the local authority, with negligent manslaughter and bodily harm.

The defendants have denied wrongdoing in the disaster.

Eight foreigners -- from Spain, Bosnia, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy and China -- were among those killed on July 24, 2010, when panic broke out in a packed underpass that was the only entrance route to the venue for the techno music festival.

The trial has been moved to a congress center in the nearby city of Duesseldorf as the court rooms in Duisburg were too small for what is expected to be one of the biggest trials in postwar Germany, with dozens of lawyers and plaintiffs.

The trial is expected to take until at least the end of next year. But there is a ticking clock on proceedings as the statute of limitations runs out in July 2020.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Michael Nienaber and Keith Weir