Crews were only able to remove one section from the famous East Side Gallery before about 300 protesters pressed too close for the work to continue. Demonstrators then wheeled in a mock wall section they had set up in front of the gap.
One protester carried a sign asking ‘does culture no longer have any value?’ in bold letters, with ‘die yuppie scum’ written in smaller letters. The East Side Gallery is the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall and is one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions.
The wall section stood on the eastern side of the elaborate border strip built by communist East Germany and, when the border was closed, carried none of the graffiti that covered the western side of the wall. It was transformed into an open-air gallery months after East Germany opened its borders on November 9, 1989, and is now covered in colourful murals painted by about 120 artists.
Despite its popularity, local city district chairman Franz Schulz said that historical preservation authorities had given a construction firm permission to remove a section to build a road to access a new luxury apartment complex it is building on the nearby banks of the Spree river.
The plan is for an approximately 20-metre stretch of the 1.3 kilometre section of wall to be removed and relocated. “It’s unbearable to see that the wall here is being so brutally torn down,” said artist Thierry Noir, whose painted section of the wall is one likely to be removed.