Protesters built a miniature, replica 'Berlin Wall' at the Brandenburg Gate, where the wall once divided the city into East and West during Cold War times.
Organizers explained that their wall was meant to symbolize US presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposal to build a wall along the US border with Mexico to stop illegal immigration.
“We are uniting Americans and Berliners to tear down Trump’s wall of hate,” event organizer Meredith Alexander, an American expat in London, told The Local.
She also said the protest's aim was to get Americans living abroad to vote, calling expats the “the secret swing state”.
Alexander pointed out that Americans abroad tend to be much more progressive, an observation that was confirmed by expat voters in Germany during the primaries when they opted for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.
Only 12 percent of Americans abroad voted in the 2012 elections, according to Avaaz, and that is why Alexander said her group wants to get people to register, urging voters to use Avaaz’s new form.
About 200 people gathered to watch as the protesters started to knock down the replica wall, imitating the way Berliners came to the Brandenburg Gate to chisel away the actual wall in 1989.
He also said that Trump has changed the way Germans view the United States, saying that “it’s embarrassing to talk about [with my German friends]; it’s really a national shame that Trump has gotten this far.”
Rainer and Alexandra, a German couple who were watching the protest from afar, echoed his sentiments.
“Yes, so Clinton is not the princess of our dreams, but then Trump is a multi-millionaire who doesn’t know anything about life,” Alexandra told The Local.
Some Trump supporters also ventured out to demonstrate their disagreement with the protest.
Wearing a 'Make America Great Again' Trump T-Shirt and waving an American flag, 19-year-old Jacob told The Local he planned to vote for the Republican.
“Obviously many things he says aren’t true,” said Jacob, who was born in Atlanta, Georgia but moved to Berlin at age four.
“But I think that this is a necessary tactic to get elected.”
He also voiced his support for Trump's proposed wall as a way address illegal immigration, and said that he felt the “political system in the USA is corrupt to the bone [but] Trump could start a political revolution.”
Alex Kasper, a software developer originally from Los Angeles, also disapproved of what he called the increasingly “no-borders society”, and said that he was not surprised that so few people turned up at the Trump protest.
Sarah, a 33-year-old American musician who’s been living in Berlin for eight years, stood right by the protesters' wall with a banner around her neck stating “Hotheads with nukes – no thank you”.
She said the protest was important “just to get people talking, get the word out and register.”
In 1989, November 9th was a momentous day in German history, when the Berlin wall came down and Germany began the process of reunification at the end of the Cold War. This year, November 9th will be the day when Americans know who’ll lead their country for the next four years.
By Max Bringmann and Alexander Johnstone