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Ravers Throng Berlin's Annual Love Parade

July 14, 2002|From Associated Press

BERLIN — Downtown Berlin's main park was transformed Saturday into a sea of gyrating techno fans, who blew whistles and danced ecstatically to booming beats as the German capital's Love Parade hit the streets for its 14th year.

Throngs of scantily clad revelers, many sporting garishly colored hair and outlandish outfits, crowded around 45 techno floats as they made their way from the edges of the Tiergarten park toward the Victory Column, the center point of the daylong event. Some of them clambered onto traffic signs and street lamps.

Still, police estimated at only about 500,000 the number of people who turned out--a little more than half of last year's figure of 800,000 and far short of the record 1.5 million in 1999. Organizers said about 750,000 people attended.

The Love Parade, which began in 1989 as a small procession of 150 ravers, has become a Berlin institution and a massive tourist draw.

"I had no idea it would be so exciting," said Jenny Schneider, a 21-year-old from Bismarck, N.D., who is studying German in the city of Freiburg. "People said it would be like Woodstock, but it's actually much, much better."

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