Hundreds of thousands of techno fans grooved their way through the German capital's central Tiergarten park at the 15th Love Parade, dancing to the latest electronic dance music blasted out by over 250 DJs spinning discs on 50 floats.
Under this year's motto "Love Rules," the parade was to culminate at the city's landmark Victory Column, close to the Brandenburg Gate, with programs running late into the night from top deejays such as Felix Da Housecat, Pete Tong and Love Parade founder Dr Motte.
Begun in 1989 as a small procession of 150 ravers protesting for the right to party in a city still divided by the Berlin Wall, the parade mushroomed after German reunification the next year into a Berlin institution and a massive draw for partyers as well as tourists.
To the dismay of the city's hoteliers, attendance has slipped from a peak of 1.5 million, in 1999. But the event continues to defy predictions of its demise, and still draws international deejays to club events around the city that keep dedicated clubbers dancing for days.
Organizers said in March they were struggling to raise the $1.7 million needed to keep the tradition going. And while enough sponsors eventually stepped in to keep it going another year, the streets appeared less packed Saturday than in the past.
That was despite the efforts of some 1,600 police officers and 400 stewards to keep partygoers out of park areas fenced off to prevent littering. Some 600 portable toilets were installed to head off criticism from residents and environmental groups.
The fencing was also meant to keep out the usual hordes of impromptu food and drink sellers so that official vendors - and the organizers - get more of the take.
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July 12, 2003 at 11:41 PM CEST