German rock festival evacuated over 'terrorist threat'

Officials in Germany have agreed to re-open the Rock AM Ring festival after a potential terrorist threat on Friday (June 2).
Empty space in front of the stage after festival-goers left due to a terrorist threat.
Empty space in front of the stage after festival-goers left due to a terrorist threat.PHOTO: EPA
The venue before the evacuation.
The venue before the evacuation.PHOTO: EPA

BERLIN (AFP) - One of Germany’s biggest music festivals was interrupted on Friday (June 2) over a “possible terrorist threat,” police said.

Organisers asked fans at the three-day event to leave calmly “in order to help police investigations” but said they were hopeful the festival would resume on Saturday.

The three-day “Rock am Ring,” held at the famous Nuerburgring sports complex near the western city of Nuerburg, is scheduled to run until Sunday. It draws tens of thousands of people annually.

In a statement, police in the city of Coblenz said they were in possession of “concrete elements, in the light of which a possible terrorist threat cannot be ruled out.”

“As safety is the key priority and any danger to festival-goers has to be avoided as much as possible, a decision has been taken to suspend the festival for today,” the statement said. There were no further details.

Security for the festival had already been stepped up, with an additional 1,200 staff, in response to the May 22 Manchester bombing which occurred after a concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

Last year’s Rock am Ring programme was curtailed by violent storms in which dozens of people were injured by lightning.

The country remains on high alert after an Islamic militant attack on a Christmas market in Berlin on Dec 19.

Anis Amri, a 24-year-old Tunisian, hijacked a truck, killed its Polish driver and ploughed the vehicle through the market, claiming 11 more lives and wounding dozens.