LIVERPOOL - Britain marked the 20th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy in which 96 football fans died with a memorial service at Liverpool's Anfield stadium on Wednesday. More than 28,000 fans sang the anthem "You'll Never Walk Alone" and a candle was lit for each of the victims in a tribute attended by former and current players and club officials. All 96 who died in the crush during the 1989 F.A. Cup semi-final tie with Nottingham Forest, at the neutral ground of Sheffield Wednesday, were supporters of Liverpool, one of English soccer's most famous clubs. Two-minute silences were held in Liverpool, Sheffield and Nottingham at 3:06 p.m., the time the match was abandoned on April 15, 1989. Families have been fighting for a fresh inquest to be held, unhappy at the decision by the coroner at the original 1991 inquest to limit the scope of his review. He said the victims were all dead or fatally injured by 3:15 p.m. but the families argue that cut-off meant they never discovered what happened to their relatives and prevented an official investigation into the emergency services' response. They also accuse police of a cover-up and of trying to place the blame on supporters' behaviour. A government minister, who had called for full disclosure of documents relating to the disaster, was interrupted during the memorial service as he tried to read out a message from Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Andy Burnham, the minister for culture, media and sport, urged the police and ambulance services, as well as the local council, to publish all material relating to the disaster to help families discover what happened to their loved ones. The disaster and subsequent inquiry led to the removal of fencing at the front of stands and all-seater stadiums, changing the culture of grounds and creating a safer if less boisterous atmosphere at matches. The families are angry nobody has been successfully prosecuted despite an official report in 1989 criticising police for their failure to control the situation. "The Hillsborough families have suffered the immediate pain of the tragedy and the anguish afterwards of 20 years without a sense of proper resolution or closure," Burnham said in a statement. "There is a case for full disclosure by any public body of any document previously unpublished which would shed light on the disaster and its aftermath. "It is vital that we have transparency, for the families to know they have been able to view all the information about the deaths of their loved ones." BLOG: The Hillsborough Disaster: One fan's story NEWS: Hansen: Dalglish heroic after Hillsborough NEWS: Dalglish recalls Hillsborough anguish NEWS: Officer: We let Hillsborough fans down
15 April 2009
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