Wednesday 27 March 2013, Berlin AP:
“Construction workers backed by German police have removed a section of the Berlin Wall to make way for a building project, despite calls for the historic site to be preserved. Residents
expressed shock at the removal of the East Side Gallery, which followed a series of protests.
police spokesman said there were no incidents as
work had begun at 5am. Six meters of the wall were removed to make way for access to a planned
high-rise luxury complex along the Spree river. By mid-morning the gap was covered by a wooden fence and guarded by scores of police officers.
Developer Maik Uwe Hinkel said the removal of the wall was a temporary measure to
enable trucks to gain access to the building site, and after four
weeks of fruitless negotiations with city officials and owners of
adjacent properties he was no longer willing to wait.”
The East Side Gallery is (was) the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall.
At least 136 people died trying to scale the wall that divided
communist-run East Berlin from West Berlin. During the ensuing years the
stretch has become a tourist attraction, with colorful paintings
decorating the aging concrete tiles.
you take these parts of the wall away, you take away the soul of the
city,” said Ivan McClostney, 32, who moved to the area from Ireland a
year ago. “This way, you make it like every other city. It’s so sad.”
The East Side Gallery was recently restored at a cost of over £2m to
the city. The section of wall stood on the eastern side of the elaborate
border strip, built by communist East Germany
after it sealed off West Berlin in 1961. At least 136 people died
trying to scale the wall until it was opened on 9 November 1989.
stretch of wall was transformed into an open-air gallery months after
the opening, and has been covered in murals by up to 120 artists. The
designs include the famous image of the boxy East German Trabant car,
appearing to burst through the wall, and a fraternal communist kiss
between the former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and his East German
counterpart Erich Honecker.