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Rain fails to dampen Zurich Street Parade

Dancers did not let it rain on their parade

(Keystone)

Around 800,000 people have taken part in Saturday's Zurich Street Parade, despite the cool, wet weather.

Even though it was about 200,000 fewer than last year, the turnout is better than organisers had expected.

"We never thought so many people would come when we saw the weather forecast," said festival spokesman, Stefan Epli.

At the start of the parade, temperatures reached only 16 degrees. Around 30 "Love Mobiles" playing house and techno music travelled around the lakeshore to a mix of sun and rain.

More than 500 people had to be treated for minor injuries and ailments including nearly 200 for alcohol excess and drug overdoses. About 50 were taken to hospital.

The motto of this year's event was "Move Your Mind". "It's once again a demonstration of love, peace and freedom," Epli told swissinfo about the 15th parade.

"We noticed that people – including youngsters – seem somewhat lethargic, mentally and physically," added Epli. "That's why we are asking people to be active, because if you don't go forwards, you start moving backwards."

The convoy of Love mobiles included a Bollywood float from India. "Last years, Indian filmmakers came to take some shots of the Street Parade and asked if they could have a float this time," said Epli. "They have brought their own decorations and DJs as well as dancers."

Love mobiles from abroad are nothing new. The 2006 edition included groups from South Africa, the Netherlands, Austria and France.

Ballet dancers

More out of the ordinary was a request from the Zurich Opera House ballet.

"It's surprising that they wanted to join us, but good," said the Street Parade spokesman. "The ballet group conveys perfectly the message we are trying to get through."

Around 100 applications to take part in the event were filed, but only 30 floats were chosen to travel along the 2.4-kilometre route. Selection criteria were based on the choice of music, either house or techno.

A proposal for an Elvis-mobile was turned down - too retro, according to Epli.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The Street Parade was founded in 1992 by student Marek Krynski, who was inspired by Berlin's Love Parade.

The first event took place on Zurich's ritzy Bahnhofstrasse and only attracted a few thousand people.

A year later, the parade route was changed and around 10,000 people attended.

In 2002, 650,000 people turned up despite steady rain and cooler temperatures.

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Key facts

The Street Parade association expects the event to cost SFr1.2 million ($970,000).
Three quarters of the costs are related to security, emergency services and cleaning.
In 2005, 42 tons of litter were collected.
13 emergency posts and 3,000 volunteers will attend to the ravers' wellbeing.
Ecstasy Hotline: 0800 620 620

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