• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Thousands protest to save Berlin Wall

The Local · 4 Mar 2013, 09:38

Published: 04 Mar 2013 08:45 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Mar 2013 09:38 GMT+01:00

Under unseasonably blue skies, police said at one point as many as 6,000 people had joined in the demonstration at the 1.3-kilometre (nearly one mile) stretch of Wall, known as the East Side Gallery.

Building contractor Maik Uwe Hinkel, who is behind the new project, has said he is prepared to enter into dialogue with the opponents, the Berliner Zeitung newspaper reported Monday morning.

Work has now been stopped until March 18, when talks with the Berlin senate and the local district authority have been planned.

Since 1990, the outdoor gallery has been covered in brightly coloured graffiti murals, including the famous "Fraternal Kiss" depicting Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and his East German counterpart Erich Honecker.

The 3.6-metre high (11 feet) stretch is a tourist magnet and a must-see for history buffs retracing the dark chapter of Berlin's 28-year-long division who are otherwise hard pressed to find remnants of the Wall to photograph.

But plans for a residential development along the banks of the Spree river as well as providing access to a planned bridge require a 22-metre segment of the Wall to be dismantled.

Several hundred demonstrators turned out on Friday, when work to remove the Wall temporarily stopped mid-morning after a crane had removed a first panel.

"Money is Making the Wall Fall!" read one banner Sunday, while slogans directed at Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit, such as "Wowereit, the Memorial Stays!" could be heard.

Many are opposed generally to the development of housing projects on the area between the East Side Gallery and the Spree, which once marked the boundary between East and West Berlin.

"I cannot and do not want to tolerate the little that remains standing of the Berlin Wall being damaged," local Green party politician Hans-Christian Ströbele said.

Story continues below…

"If I was (US President Barack) Obama I would say to Wowereit, 'Keep Up This Wall'," a well-known DJ, Dr Motte, founder of the techno Loveparade gathering, told the crowd, alluding to the famous challenge by former US president Ronald Reagan to the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall!" in 1987.

Thrown up in 1961, the Wall stretched 155 kilometres (96 miles) and divided Berlin until 1989, but today only around three kilometres of it still stand.

AFP/The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

10:14 March 4, 2013 by ado1000
Community consultation is supposed to happen before work starts! Who the hell manages this?? The guy behind BBI airport?!?!
11:23 March 4, 2013 by mobaisch
We would be happy if the same happens to our wall in Palestine! take ours!
18:21 March 4, 2013 by melbournite
@mobaisch that will be a glorious day when the Apartheit wall comes down and Palestine is freed from that brutal occupation
21:51 March 4, 2013 by Steve1949
@ mobaisch...........Your words are falling on deaf ears here. You should bring this matter up to your Arab friends. They should be the ones supporting your cause.
07:34 March 5, 2013 by melbournite
A segregated bus line has just been introduced in the occupied territories. Israel has to be treated like the racist, apartheit regime in South Africa. Everyone should support the BDS movement www.bdsmovement.net/
Today's headlines
The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

Gallery
15 pics that prove Germany is totally enchanting in autumn
The Max-Eyth-See in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

As summer fades into a distant memory and you start to begrudge trading Birkenstocks for boots, these pictures may help change your perspective on the new chill in the air.

Left politician who smuggled refugee could lose immunity
Diether Dehm. Photo: DPA.

Die Linke (Left Party) politician Diether Dehm could lose his immunity as an elected official after he admitted to smuggling a refugee into Germany.

Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record in Berlin marathon win
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,643
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd