Long After Its Fall, Berlin Wall Is Focus Of New Protests | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Long After Its Fall, Berlin Wall Is Focus Of New Protests

Play associated audio

Protected by scores of German police officers, workers removed sections of a key remnant of the Berlin Wall before dawn Wednesday despite earlier protests demanding the concrete artifact of the Cold War be preserved.

The removal came as a shock to residents, just as it did on Aug. 13, 1961, when communists first built the barrier that divided Berlin during the Cold War.

Tour guide Rolf Strobel, 52, was among the scores of people who came to gape at the holes in what had been the longest remaining stretch of the wall — about eight-tenths of a mile.

The wall remnant is a gallery of colorful murals created following the 1989 popular uprising in what was then Communist East Germany. One of the murals features Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev kissing East German chief Erich Honecker, who built the Berlin Wall.

"I'm quite disappointed. This is impertinence," Strobel said of the wall's dismantling. He argued that it belongs to the public and not investors like Maik Uwe Hinkel, who paid the workers to take down four panels from the barrier.

Hinkel is building a luxury apartment complex nearby along the Spree River and wants to create an access road through the wall. But he stopped his work following a number of protests this month, including one led by actor David Hasselhoff, who starred in the TV series Baywatch and Knight Rider.

Hasselhoff is a popular singer in Germany; his anthem "Looking for Freedom" was belted out by the generation who brought down the Berlin Wall.

During a protest he thanked people for joining. "This is a part of history," he said. He also pledged to hold a "huge concert" in Berlin to increase the pressure if talks to preserve the wall fail.

In an e-mailed statement to The Associated Press, Hinkel said he was tired of fruitless negotiations with city officials. He also said Wednesday's removal is temporary so trucks can reach the building site.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Reports: Fashion Icon Oscar De La Renta Dies After Long Cancer Fight

Fashion designer Oscar de La Renta, 82, died Monday after a decade-long battle with cancer, The New York Times and other media outlets report.
NPR

Sandwich Monday: The Primanti Bros. Pitts-burger

For this week's Sandwich Monday, we try a sandwich from the famous Primanti Bros. of Pittsburgh.
NPR

Close Iowa Senate Race Could Come Down To How Women Vote

Joni Ernst, who's an officer in the Iowa Army National Guard, presents herself as a mother, soldier, leader. But many women aren't responding to that.
NPR

Tunisia's Emerging Tech Sector Hampered By Old Policies

When Tunisia's young people protested in 2011, they had one key demand: jobs. Now, despite new political leadership, that demand remains unmet — even in tech, the sector that offers the most promise.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.