Germans Celebrate the Fall of Berlin Wall, Tweaking Trump

Merkel calls on Europe to ‘defend democracy' as Germany marks fall of Berlin Wall

Merkel calls on Europe to ‘defend democracy' as Germany marks fall of Berlin Wall

Berlin's historic Brandenburg Gate has been the setting for an art installation featuring around 30,000 ribbons with people's wishes, hopes and memories, suspended in the air to make up a 150-metre long "freedom cloud.' Under its musical director Daniel Barenboim, the Staatskapelle Orchestra is to perform Beethoven's fifth symphony - also known as the 'Schicksals-Sinfonie, ' or 'destiny symphony" - at the Brandenburg Gate as part of a concert to be launched by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

The wall had separated Soviet-controlled East Berlin and capitalist West Berlin during the Cold War.

But in a swipe at Trump's America First policy and his insistence on building a wall on the southern border with Mexico, Steinmeier voiced a yearning for a return of the transatlantic partner of the past.

The momentous event would end up bringing the communist regime crashing down and led to German reunification a year later.

For Steinmeier, "New walls have arisen that cut through our country - walls built of frustration, walls built of anger and hate".

"Walls that are invisible but which divide".

A minister holding a press conference called to outline measures to ease restrictions on East German citizens after weeks of growing demonstrations suddenly announced that the wall was to be opened with immediate effect.

Under grey skies earlier yesterday, Steinmeier and presidents of central European countries placed roses in the cracks of a remaining section of the Wall still standing in the north of central Berlin.

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Speaking at a memorial service in a small chapel near where the Wall once stood, Merkel commemorated those who were killed or imprisoned for trying to flee from East to West Germany and insisted that the fight for freedom worldwide isn't over.

"Together with our friends, we remember with deep gratitude the events 30 years ago", Steinmeier said during a ceremony at the Bernauer Strasse Berlin Wall Memorial, which was also attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and heads of state from Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

"The values upon with Europe is founded ... they are anything but self-evident".

Carrying a similar message, the EU's incoming chief Ursula von der Leyen noted that the euphoric optimism over liberal democracy and freedom that characterised November 9, 1989 has dissipated.

There has been a rise in the far-right in many European countries, while the governments of EU countries such as Poland and Hungary have been accused of undermining the rule of law.

'For 35 years, I experienced the official opinion as different from my own, ' Merkel said, referring to the former communist east.

Two days before the anniversary of the epochal change, the leader of Germany's closest partner, France's Emmanuel Macron charged that transatlantic partnership North Atlantic Treaty Organisation was suffering from "brain death".

Merkel responded with uncharacteristic sharpness, calling such "sweeping judgements" unnecessary.

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