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Whistles for Wowereit at Tempelhof park opening
Photo: Julia Lipkins

Whistles for Wowereit at Tempelhof park opening

Published: 08 May 2010 15:34 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 May 2010 15:34 GMT+02:00

Around 50 demonstrators whistled through Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit's speech at the opening of a new park on the former Tempelhof airfield on Saturday.

The demonstrators also attempted to disrupt the mayor's speech with repeated chants and demanded that the fence around the 300-hectare space be removed.

An unnamed demonstrator said that protest was meant to warn against rising rents in the area, and added, "The park should be open for all, at night as well."

The decision to install a fence has been criticized by left-wing groups and local residents. Demonstrations were also planned in local districts to draw attention to the socially disadvantaged allegedly being driven from the area.

Click here for a photo gallery of the park opening.

Berlin's urban development senator Ingeborg Junge-Reyer attempted to quiet the demonstrators by saying they should try to win by arguments, not volume. She was applauded by many of those attending.

Wowereit used his speech to highlight the historical importance of the old airfield.

"The Allies risked their lives to secure Berliners their freedom. That will always be associated with Tempelhof," he said, before adding, "This is the beginning of a fantastic development."

The new Tempelhof park is the biggest park in the city, and some 200,000 visitors are expected to join the opening celebrations at the weekend.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

03:21 May 9, 2010 by Talonx
Gee, I seem to remember a poll that was sent around to residents of the city concerning what should happen to tempelhof, wouldn't that by 'trying to win by arguments' ... what were the results of that poll again ...
07:19 May 9, 2010 by majura
It's not Berlin's only gated park.

So this is really a story about 50 people having a whinge that they can't vandalise and graffiti in the cover of darkness.
11:25 May 9, 2010 by mexican.wav
why would you want to go there at night anyway! I went yesterday and its freaky even in the daylight its so big!
12:07 May 9, 2010 by moreanon
Is there anything left of the airfield, tower or runways?
12:44 May 9, 2010 by orage
Tempelhof has a mysterious history that could satisfy a Dan Brown fan. Think the protesters know of this? Probably not :)

Tempelhove was first mentioned in a 1247 deed issued at Walkenried Abbey as a Komturhof (commander's court, the smallest holding entity of a military order) of the Knights Templars. - wiki
00:49 May 10, 2010 by Zlik
"warn against rising rents in the area, plus Gates." JAIL CELLS?

Evenually Our park kiddos.
04:26 May 10, 2010 by derExDeutsche
Wouldn't it have been nice for Berlin to open the Park to a World Class In/Out Patient Hospital? Who knows maybe even make a few Euro, instead of just spending them?

Maybe a few Euro could help with all the Bankrupt Social States in the EU?

Then again, hey, the US has the same Social Programs as the EU now. I wonder how long it will take the US before the money to runs out. Maybe Africa will bail us out after the Climate Change/Carbon Credit cheque clears.
14:47 May 10, 2010 by benbeath
I went to the opening on the weekend - for the 50 or so people who whistled, there were tens of thousands of people running all over the runways and outfield having a great time. Not much has been done yet except open the gates, but it was great fun. I took some photos you can see here: http://live.benbeath.com/flughafen-templehof
23:15 May 10, 2010 by charlieeyer
As an American airman I was stationed at Templeholf from 1965 until 1968 and 45 years later those 3 years remain one of the highlights of my life. I was concerned that the building was not torn down and the pictures posted by benbeath (thanks) shows that it was not, great.

The building was to me a marvel of intrigue, because of it¦#39;s size, construction, and history. I was impressed at the way the 12 towers supported the roof over the hangers, the central utility system, railway (it is probably gone now) the interconnectedness of the massive structure.

I suppose the sheep that used to graze between the runways are gone too. The story really brings back memories of happier times, good friends, and a beautiful city.

Thanks

Charlie
13:51 May 11, 2010 by William Thirteen
hey Charlie,

did you ever play basketball on the court upstairs in the terminal?
17:49 May 11, 2010 by Zlik
Someone see's mucho Euro's from increasing paying surplus of poor folks children in future years. Lure em youngin's. Whilst Redeveloping the Residential area to "our" whims. Plain and simple.
05:45 May 12, 2010 by charlieeyer
Answer to William Thirteen

Yes I did, played on one of the noontime intramural teams. Must have been 1966 - 1967. Wasn't good enough to play on the Base Team..
01:08 June 7, 2010 by Alte Fritz
the demonstrators have a good point....the airfield belonged to the people and it should have been given over to public use....not sold off for fancy appartment development. The Berrlin Council was not elected to make that decision. It should have been given over to public determination. Effectively the people have been robbed and the fencing of it illustrates the theft.

Appartments can be built anywhere. B|ut parks can never be created from brown sites.
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