Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Berlin Wall After 20 Years

World leaders have hailed the Berlin Wall's fall in celebrations 20 years on from the upheaval that changed Europe. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was joined at the Brandenburg Gate by Russia's Dmitry Medvedev, France's Nicolas Sarkozy and UK PM Gordon Brown.

In a special video address, US President Barack Obama said Berliners had rebuked tyranny on 9 November 1989. The event two decades ago led Germany to reunify, caused the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Cold War's end.

Communist East Germany erected the 155-km (96-mile) concrete barrier in 1961 to encircle West Berlin and prevent citizens from fleeing into the capitalist enclave.
At least 136 people are thought to have been killed at the wall while trying to escape.

Ms Merkel - who grew up in East Germany - presided over Monday's celebrations, which were attended by tens of thousands of people despite a downpour of rain.
She led a procession of leaders through the Brandenburg Gate - the symbol of German reunification in 1990.

The presidents of Russia and France, the British premier and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were among those who joined the German chancellor.
Ms Merkel said the events of 20 years ago had shown the world could tackle new challenges, from poverty to climate change.
"Together we brought down the Iron Curtain and I am convinced this can give us the strength for the 21st century," she said. Click Here to Read more ...
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