Michael Jackson: Officials threaten to close Munich shrine to singer after fights between rival fan groups

Fan groups MJ’s Legacy and MJ Memorial Munich are allegedly involved

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The Independent Culture

When Michael Jackson died in 2009, fans across the world united to support each other as they mourned the passing of an icon.

In Munich, fans set up an unofficial shrine outside the Bayerischer Hof Hotel, a place Jackson has stayed many times, and the flowers have been there ever since.

Recently, however, two rival fan groups have reportedly been fighting over the memorial and have since been warned that any further disputes could lead to officials closing down the shrine.

In a letter from the Bavarian state culture ministry, they warned: "If peaceful coexistence between the different groups of fans behind the Michael Jackson memorial is not possible, the memorial will unfortunately have to disappear.”

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Flowers, candles and personal notes for the King of Pop Michael Jackson are laid down on a monument dedicated to Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer Orlando di Lasso in Munich

The shrine has been built around a statue of Renaissance composer Orlandi di Lasso, and is composed of made up of photos of MJ as well as tourists’ flags representing their countries. 

Jackson visited Germany often, famously holding his youngest son, Prince Michael II, out of a Berlin hotel’s window. The “Beat It” singer left an unquestionable mark on the country, with fans still mourning the loss.

Officials have said the two groups in dispute, reportedly called MJ’s Legacy and MJ Memorial Munich, have recently been violent, up to the point where the shrine may have to be closed to keep the peace.

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Michael Jackson performs at the Berlin Reichstag in June 1988

"We tolerated this memorial until now but have heard from the police about disputes among fans and there have even been criminal complaints," Henning Giessen, a spokesman for Bavaria's culture ministry, told AFP.

President of the Munich-based fan club MJ's Legacy, Nena Snezana Akhtar, has previously complained of bodily harm, accusing the rival fans of throwing a candle holder at her.

Akhtar visits the shrine daily, and said of the other group: "They remove our decorations, take down our posters and crush the flowers we plant."

 

Meanwhile, MJ Memorial Munich believe the Akhtar is in the wrong, writing on Facebook: "The organisation MJ's Legacy thinks that it has exclusive permission from the city to decorate and maintain the memorial.

"(Akhtar) is doing everything she can to get us out of here but a lot of fans (from MJ Memorial Munich) don't agree and want to keep coming."

According to Daily Nation, attempts have been made to settle the dispute but no such agreement has been made. Perhaps they can have a dance off.

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