Page last updated at 08:41 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Controversy over U2's Berlin wall

U2 playing in front of the Brandenburg Gate
U2 played for 10,000 fans in front of the Brandenburg Gate

A U2 show marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall ran into controversy after organisers built a wall around the venue.

A two metre barrier was erected around the Brandenburg gate to keep out people without tickets for the show.

"It's a shame that a barrier has been set up. It's stopping many Berliners from hearing the concert," local politician Frank Henkel told the BBC.

The U2 show was part of the MTV Europe Music Awards.

Ten thousand tickets were given away free online and snapped up within hours.

U2 in Berlin
U2 were also named best live act at the MTV Europe Awards after their gig

Police in the city said they were expecting as many as 100,000 people to descend on the square in front of the Brandenburg Gate to try and catch a glimpse of U2.

Mr Henkel, Christian Democrat floor leader in the Berlin city-state parliament, said: "It would have been so much better if as many Berliners as possible could have taken part.

"We don't know who's responsible for this, whether it's U2 or MTV.

He continued: "10,000 people is a lot, but U2 could have had an even bigger audience enjoying their music at this wonderful location."

U2 manager Paul McGuinness said Berliners thought it was "pretty ironic" that an event to mark the falling of the wall has resulted in another one being constructed.

Fans, too, were displeased.

"It's completely ridiculous that they are blocking the view," said Louis-Pierre Boily, a Canadian fan who travelled to Berlin despite failing to secure tickets for the show.

"I thought it's a free show, but MTV probably wants people to watch it on TV to get their ratings up."

'Safety and security'

But MTV said it worked with the local promoter, the city and police to install a temporary fence "around the site to ensure the safety and security of the attendees at the event as well as residents and businesses in the area".

Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit said: "The Pariser Platz was the scene for a joyful celebration of peace, love, freedom and music that Berlin will never forget.

"Congratulations to U2 and MTV for bringing this unique moment of musical history to the city of Berlin."

U2's representatives declined to comment.



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