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Berlin Invaded by Techno Fans

July 8, 2000

BERLIN (AP) _ Driven by thundering beats, about 1 million techno music fans packed the streets of central Berlin on Saturday for the annual Love Parade _ the world’s biggest dance party of its kind.

A high-spirited mass of people, most from Germany but many from abroad, jammed Berlin’s main axis stretching west from the Brandenburg Gate and past the Victory Column with its golden angel on top. With the crowd still swelling in the afternoon, organizers expected it to reach a record 1.7 million people.

A simultaneous parade in Leeds, England, was meant to underline this year’s motto of ``One World, One Love Parade″ and what organizers say is the music’s power to bring people together across borders.

``Techno is a movement, a youth culture, not a fashion,″ said parade spokesman Enric Nitzsche. ``It connects people from all over the world and lets them party and have fun together peacefully.″

Booming beats came from 52 sound trucks moving along the route in Berlin, where traffic ceded to bobbing orange- and green-haired youths sporting sunglasses and skimpy attire despite cloudy weather. City workers had removed street light chandeliers in the Tiergarten park so people wouldn’t climb on them.

With beer and party drugs fueling much of the action and mounds of trash to sweep up afterward, not everyone took a benign view of what organizers dubbed a ``parade for respect, tolerance, communication between peoples and love.″

Police spoke of ``the world’s biggest drug party,″ estimating that $25 million worth of illicit substances were sold at last year’s parade. To help cut down on garbage, drinks along the main route were being sold in recyclable cups for the first time.

Since its debut in 1989 as a street party with 150 people on then West Berlin’s Kurfuerstendamm boulevard, the Love Parade has grown steadily into a huge annual event _ still led by its founder Matthias Roeingh, better known as DJ Dr. Motte.


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