High demand cancels giant Berlin snowball battle

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Snow in Berlin
Image caption,
Snow has affected much of the German capital

Organisers of a giant snowball fight in Berlin have announced they are calling off the event.

The local council said too many people had signed up to attend.

Earlier this year, the first snow scrum drew some 500 people. But, after becoming an internet hit, 8,000 people said they wanted to attend in 2011.

The fight pits residents from two neighbouring districts against each other but officials fear it could get out of control.

An official at the public works office in the south-eastern district of Neukoelln said that fears about the risk of damage to trees and bushes in Hasenheide Park had also been a concern.

"A crowd of that size would be uncontrollable and that is too much to ask of the police," the official, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

According to German daily, Tagesspiegel, the organisers were considering using the runways of a former airfield as a potential alternative location.

Officials from the Tempelhof - the site of the 1948-1949 Berlin Airlift - said they were yet to receive an application but told the newspaper that they would be unlikely to grant permission due, in part to "noise protection issues".

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