Supporters of the famous stretch of the Wall covered in colourful murals were incensed when the developer removed part of the concrete barrier at dawn on Wednesday.
Over 250 police officers watched as heavy machinery rolled in at 5am to create a six-metre gap in the popular tourist attraction to allow construction work on a controversial block of luxury apartments direct on the city’s riverfront.
Berlin officials hoping to broker a compromise called the demolition an “affront,” but the property developer responsible defended the action.
“It wasn’t a cloak-and-dagger operation,” Maik Uwe Hinkel told a Berlin radio station on Thursday morning, saying that city authorities had refused to discuss alternative access to the piece of land. “Because of this fact, we were forced to act.”
He said the onus was now on the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg to decide on April 24th whether one entrance could be used for two pieces property. This would allow the gap in the Wall created on Wednesday to be repaired.
Protestors, meanwhile, were planning to march in front of Berlin’s City Hall at 4pm on Thursday to keep pressure on Mayor Klaus Wowereit. Although Wowereit does not oppose building luxury flats next to the former Cold War death strip, he has expressed support for keeping the East Side Gallery intact.
On prominent supporter of the outdoor art gallery, US entertainer David Hasselhoff, mooted the possibility of benefit concert to raise money for one of the last remaining segments of the Berlin Wall.
After travelling to the German capital earlier in March to attend a rally for the East Side Gallery, Hasselhoff said via the online message service Twitter early on Thursday he was prepared to take part in a charity event.
The fight is not over we must UNITE and stop the loss of ourhumanity and the spirit of freedom.CONCERT TO SAVE THE WALL?IM IN!
— David Hasselhoff (@DavidHasselhoff) March 28, 2013