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Zurich's Street Parade draws a million revellers

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Photo: Verein Street Parade, Zurich
11:25 CEST+02:00
Almost a million partygoers swarmed the centre of Zurich for the annual Street Parade, the biggest outdoor party in Switzerland, which wound down in the wee hours of Sunday.

Under this year’s English slogan, “Follow your heart,” the techno event featured 28 “lovemobiles” with skimpily attired celebrants dancing to booming, syncopated music.

The parade, unfolding over eight hours, followed its traditional two-kilometre route along the Lake Zurich waterfront with a Chinese lovemobile appearing for the first time.

Seven stages were set up for music along the route and related events were held at the Hallenstadion sports stadium and at dozens of nightclubs.

Despite the large turnout — the event is the biggest of its kind in Europe — police reported few serious problems.

Officers arrested 63 people for rowdy behaviour or drug offences.

First-aid attendants said they treated 910 people for injuries, 36 percent more than the previous year.

They also attended to 319 rowdy celebrants who had consumed too much alcohol or drugs, 50 more than in 2011.

Despite the generally peaceful nature of the event, police had to cope with sporadic fights and delinquency.

The Swiss Federal Railways added 105 special trains to cope with the influx of people to Switzerland’s largest city.

City trams and buses also ran all night to accommodate the throng.

Officially a demonstration of peace, love, freedom and tolerance, the Street Parade began modestly in 1992 with just 1,000 celebrants.

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It was nearly banned by authorities in 1994 but continued after local media defended the event, which only began to attract large crowds a couple of years later.

Organized by a local association (Verein), the Street Parade officially remains a political demonstration, which leaves the municipality in charge of providing security for the monster event.

Financial problems have dogged the association this year but this did not deter organizers from proceeding with the event, now regarded as one of Zurich's major tourist attractions.

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