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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 July, 2005, 10:44 GMT 11:44 UK
Berlin Wall memorial is torn down
By Ray Furlong
BBC News, Berlin

Wooden crosses stand next to a re-erected strip of the former Berlin Wall in Berlin
The memorial was unveiled in October 2004
German authorities have pulled down a monument to the Berlin Wall, at the famous former crossing point called Checkpoint Charlie.

The memorial included more than 1,000 crosses, each devoted to someone who died while trying to flee.

Several hundred people protested against the demolition work.

The move came after supporters lost a court battle to save the monument and failed to meet a deadline to raise the money to buy the land where it stands.

Chained to crosses

In driving rain, workers in blue overalls and yellow plastic coats tore down the huge concrete wall segments and unscrewed the large wooden crosses that each bear the name of a victim.

Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 and it fell in 1989
Several hundred protesters jeered and whistled.

Some former political prisoners even chained themselves to crosses - but were removed by police.

The monument has been very controversial ever since it was erected in October by a private museum that stands nearby.

Critics said it was kitsch. They pointed out that part of the memorial - a reconstructed section of the wall - stood several metres away from where it had really stood during the Cold War.

But the supporters said Checkpoint Charlie needed a monument to commemorate the wall and its bloody history.

They also accuse the Berlin authorities - a coalition of Social Democrats and the former Communist PDS party - of not wishing to acknowledge the crimes of the East German state.

The city of Berlin says it plans a Cold War museum at Checkpoint Charlie, and argues that wall victims are honoured at another location elsewhere in Berlin.

Timeline: Germany
20 Dec 03 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Germany
14 Jan 04 |  Country profiles

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