News / Europe

Protesters Block Dismantling Part of Berlin Wall

Protesters Block Dismantling Part of Berlin Walli
X
March 02, 2013 10:14 PM
Protesters in Berlin are trying to stop developers from dismantling one of the longest remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall. But as Michael Scaturro reports, they face an uphill battle.
Michael Scaturro
Protesters in Berlin are trying to stop developers from dismantling one of the longest remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall.   But, they face an uphill battle.

The Berlin Wall was once of the starkest reminders of the Cold War.  It was put up by communist East Germany in 1961, to stop its citizens from fleeing to West Berlin.  But today, the wall that once snaked around the whole German capital is almost entirely gone.

Except for at the East Side Gallery.  Today, the one-mile-long stretch of the wall contains murals by artists from around the world.

But on Friday, construction workers began removing a 22-meter chunk of the wall, the first step in a project that aims to build a luxury apartment tower on the site.

And that has caused a stir -- 200 people turned out to protest, and three were arrested.

Kani Alvi is an artist whose mural appears on the wall.  He says the wall is too historically significant to tamper with.

"This is the longest remaining stretch of the wall.  If we take it apart, we won't have proof to show future generations how extensive the wall was, and how it divided the people," he said. "And this is a message that we must continue teaching.  Without the wall, future generations won't believe how it really was."

The mayor of Berlin declined to comment for this story.  But Volker Thoms, a spokesman for the builder, Living Bauhaus, told VOA that his company intends to reconstruct the pieces of the wall elsewhere on its property.  He also noted something that even local papers and some Berliners have pointed out -- that this valuable land had been sitting disused for years.

The wall is technically a protected historical site. But last week, the city gave the go ahead to remove part of the wall.  Tourists were surprised at the news, including some students from the New York area.

"We actually just heard of plans today, and I was a little surprised to hear that actually," said Ali Bergstein.

"I was really shocked, we found out this morning when we were planning to come here, and we think it's kind of terrible," Abby Seelig said.  "It's such a monumental part of history.  And for them to move it, tear it down to build something modern is just horrible."

Berliners shared their reaction.

I think it's dreadful, at a place like this, which is so historic [a] place - they're changing the whole character of the city," said Philip Winter. "I think they should keep it as a park for the people, not for the few rich people who can afford to be here.

The protesters vow to continue their fight in court to protect a piece of Cold War history.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Berlinica from: New York
March 05, 2013 4:16 PM
The Berlin Wall is not totally gone; some parts have remained, even some watchtowers, as well as memorials and pictures of the dead. You can find them all assembled here:

http://www.berlinica.com/Guides.html

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More