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Berlin Prepares for Celebrations 20 Years After Fall of Wall

Berlin Prepares for Celebrations 20 Years After Fall of Wall
Berlin Prepares for Celebrations 20 Years After Fall of Wall

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The German capital Berlin prepares for major commemorative celebrations on Monday, November 9 - to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall that divided the city and the entire country for nearly three decades during the Cold War.

The Brandenburg Gate may be Berlin's best known landmark, but it's been looking more like a construction site recently. Barriers are being set up, a seating area for visiting dignitaries, lights and banners.

But, there's good reason - this will be the focal point for the celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel plays host to current and former world leaders and senior officials, including former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, current European heads of state and government and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The schedule of events includes open air concerts, special exhibits and a grand fireworks display to top it all off.

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A main event will be a long line of oversize dominoes - each 2.5 meters-high - running in part right across the front of the Brandenburg Gate to the nearby parliament building, the Reichstag.

Moritz Van Duelmen, is director of Kulturprojekte Berlin, the state company organizing the main events. He says the dominoes celebrate the power of people to bring change.

"Because it was the peaceful revolution of the people in the former GDR [East Germany], but before it was the Polish people and it was the Hungarian people, it was in the former east and middle east [central] European countries," said Moritz Van Duelmen. "And this is the reason we chose the idea with the dominoes because it's a kind of domino effect."

Organizers say they expect some 100,000 visitors on the streets on Monday for the events.

And despite the presence of so many major world leaders in town, organizers say they want the events connect with ordinary people and to serve as a lesson to the next generation.

"The Berlin Wall was not the only wall in the world," he said. "We have many walls in some countries like Korea, or in Palestine or in Cyprus - also between the United States and Mexico. You have so many walls which divide people and what can we do to tear down these walls in the world."

For nearly three decades the Berlin Wall ran through the heart of the city, dividing it into East and West. Monday marks the end of that divide - 20 years ago.

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