Germans celebrate 30th anniversary of Berlin Wall’s fall

BERLIN, Dozens of thousands of Germans, including local and foreign dignitaries gathered at Berlin Wall Memorial on Saturday to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall which marked the end of the Cold War era in 1989.

Berlin Mayor Michael Muller opened a ceremony in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, as well as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and presidents of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

In his address to the ceremony, Muller stressed the need to defend the values of freedom and liberal democracy.

He warned against the attempts of radical nationalists to sow the seeds of hatred and xenophobia, saying that Germany would not allow right-wingers to undermine peaceful coexistence among its diverse society again.

On his part, President Steinmeier paid homage to the victims of the totalitarian regime in the former East Germany, including the neighbors of Germany in Eastern Europe.

He said that without the courage of the peoples of Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia, “the reunification of Germany would be impossible.” The 160 km-long Wall, that used to split Germany into Soviet-controlled East and west-controlled West, was built by the former Soviet Union in 1961 in the peak of the Cold War (1947-1991).

The struggle for bringing it down started in July 1989 when 4,000 citizens of the then East Germany sought asylum at the embassy of West Germany in Prague, capital of Czech Republic, before being allowed to proceed to West Germany. Hungary and Austria also allowed large numbers of East Germany’s nationals to cross their borders into West Germany.

Mass protests continued across East Germany until the fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989; during this period, 140 persons were killed and nearly 75,000 political activists were detained.

Source: Kuwait News Agency