Zurich’s Street Parade draws a million revellers

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.

Zurich's Street Parade draws a million revellers
Photo: Verein Street Parade, Zurich

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.

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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Close to a million attend Zurich’s biggest street party

Some 900,000 people attended this year’s Street Parade, the city’s biggest party and one of the world’s largest techno music events.

Close to a million attend Zurich’s biggest street party
Photo: Street Parade
Held annually in the city since 1992, the Zurich Street Parade aims to promote peace, love, liberty and tolerance, embodied this year in the theme ‘Love never ends’.
Revellers gathered along the two-kilometre parade route by the river Limmat in the city centre to watch the 25 ‘lovemobiles’ pass by, pumping music and peopled with costumed dancers. 
Eight permanent stages added to the atmosphere until the event officially closed around midnight, though after-parties continued into the night. 
Though the event was largely peaceful, skirmishes broke out later in the evening and the early hours of Sunday morning, police said
Overall 130 people were arrested for various offences including drug use and trafficking, violence and threats against authorities, theft, sexual harassment and counterfeiting money.
Those arrested were aged between 15 and 49 and of 25 different nationalities. 
Most of the offences were related to excessive alcohol consumption and/or drug use, police added.
Among those arrested were 35 drug traffickers. Police seized 570 ecstasy tablets, 110g of cannabis, 85g of cocaine and 10g of Mdma.
Two men were hospitalized after a fight on Bahnhofstrasse at around 9.15pm. 
And a 24-year-old Swiss was badly injured in an incident at St Anna-Gasse just before 1am on Sunday morning. 
The offenders are unknown, said police, who are seeking witnesses to the incident. 
However overall the number of people treated by medical personnel during the festival was lower than last year – 526 this year compared with 690 in 2016.