|'Don't tear down this wall', About 200 Berlin demonstrators of all ages gather to say|
Policemen face protestors as a section of the East Side Gallery, a 1,3 km long remainder of the Berlin Wall, is being removed by a crane for a housing construction project near the city's east railway station in Berlin on March 1, 2013. Some 25 meters of this section of the wall that mostly came down 23 years ago and marked the end of the cold war are taken away to make way for a new housing development on river Spree, a project called Living Levels. As news of this spread activists and artists that had decorated this remaining part of the cold war relic known as the east side gallery came to protest. AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN.
By: Kate Millar
BERLIN (AFP).- Detested for nearly three decades as a symbol of oppression, the Berlin Wall again sparked angry protests Friday when a crane began dismantling a segment under plans for a new housing development.
About 200 demonstrators of all ages gathered in front of the Wall's longest remaining stretch where police grimly stood between them and the barrier that once made East Berliners prisoners of their own country.
"Berlin Is Selling Itself and Its History", "Berlin Sell-Out" read some placards, while a protestor poignantly shouted "We want our Wall" -- the paradox of protesting to save the Wall seems not to be lost.
"It's a cultural heritage and the only place in the world besides Israel with a wall dividing people. We should be able to experience that," said Berlin resident Riet Meert, 32, from Belgium, who owns a DJ booking agency.
Protestors argue that especially because of the pain the Wall caused -- dozens died in dramatic attempts to flee the communist state of East Germany -- it should be preserved and not forgotten.
Former US president Ronald Reagan famously implored the Soviet Union's Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall!" in a speech at the iconic Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall two years before it fell.
"They're pulling down our history here," 72-year-old former West Berliner Monika Wang complained. Even the bad times must be remembered, she added grumbling that history was being "sacrificed" because Berlin is still cheap for investors.
Thrown up in 1961, the Wall stretched 155 kilometres (96 miles) and divided the city until 1989, but today only around three kilometres of it still stand with the longest stretch running 1.3 kilometres, known as the East Side Gallery.
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-foot) stretch is a popular tourist magnet and a must-see for history buffs retracing the dark chapter of the division who are otherwise hard pressed to find remnants of the Wall to photograph.
Between a panel illustrated with Picasso-esque murals and another decorated with colourful handprints, one panel of the Wall is missing and the crane is positioned with its clamp fixed on a second.
When, through a loudspeaker, police announced that work to dismantle the Wall has been immediately stopped for the time being and a workman clambered up to remove the crane's clasp from the wall, a cheer went up from the crowd.
But the mood remains sceptical.
"As soon as the crane comes back we'll also be there. We have enough people to also come straight back," vowed Robert Muschinski, a member of an initiative to save the East Side Gallery, describing the halt as an initial "success".
But he said it would take intervention from local politicians to stop the 22-metre segment of the Wall being torn down under a scheme to create access for a planned bridge and a new 14-storey housing development.
Property developer Living Bauhaus says removing part of the East Side Gallery is necessary for safety reasons. "It has nothing to do with our building but with directives from the local authority," its chief Maik Uwe Hinkel said.
For more than 20 years the area bordering the River Spree has been a prime spot for the development of Berlin's famed party scene, with clubs in former warehouses, bars on barges and beaches with imported sand.
"Where were the building companies 24 years ago? Then they should have torn it down," mutters one protestor.
© 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse
March 2, 2013
MoMA's contemporary design gallery installation focuses on the vitality and diversity of design
A selection of artworks from Arman's Bicycle series on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery
Exhibition of rarely seen photographs and paintings by artist William Klein opens at Howard Greenberg Gallery
Complete set of Andy Warhol's 'Endangered Species' prints at Sotheby's in London this March
'Don't tear down this wall', About 200 Berlin demonstrators of all ages gather to say
Major exhibition celebrates the almost-forgotten work of woman who helped transform British photography
Irving Penn masterpiece and works of 20th century highlight photographs auction at Heritage
Classic Disney cels lead $923,000+ New York animation event at Heritage Auctions
After Hurricane Sandy dealt New York a powerful blow, ongoing repairs keep Statue of Liberty closed
Exhibition at High House Gallery pushes the boundaries of portraiture through a variety of techniques
Sotheby's to offer Abstract and Realism masterpieces at the 20th Century Chinese Art Spring Sale
Nevada Museum of Art presents "Voces y Visiones: Highlights from the Collection of El Museo Del Barrio"
Extremely diverse works by Adrian Paci in new exhibition at Jeu de Paume in Paris
Museum to present exhibition devoted to major collection of works by self-taught artists
Large-format, interactive matrix with over 500 luminous advertising letters installed at ZKM
Designing for Champions: Geat Olympic architecture and engineering finally recognised in new film
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts awards significant Grant to Laumeier Sculpture Park
Gary Griffin receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of North American Goldsmiths
Qi Baishi paintings, Huanhuali lanterns, and fine carved jade to feature at Kaminski
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- Italian Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci's extremely rare Viola Organista: the sound of genius
2.- After facing international criticism, Germany to put online 590 works from Nazi art trove
3.- Robert L. Oswald, Brother of Lee Harvey Oswald Disputes Last Week's Sale of Coffin
4.- Germany to return some works to Cornelius Gurlitt, hoarder of Nazi-era art trove
5.- Major exhibition of new works by artist and musician Bob Dylan opens at Halcyon Gallery
6.- In interview with Der Spiegel, Recluse defiantly stakes claim to Nazi-era art hoard
7.- Dallas Museum of Art presents first in-depth study of Edward Hopper's working process
8.- Switzerland pays heavy price for Van Gogh gift from businessman Oskar Reinhart
9.- Alex Prager's first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. opens at the Corcoran Gallery of Art
10.- 3D printing 'will change the world'
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|