Eastside Gallery demolition delayed

by Matthias · 01.03.2013 · Kiez Life · 3 comments

Eastside Gallery demolition delayed

After 300 demon­strat­ors gathered at East­side Gal­lery earlier today to dis­turb the demoli­tion of parts of the longest remain­ing stretch of the Ber­lin Wall, the build­ing con­tractor and police decided to delay fur­ther con­struc­tion. One piece of wall was removed, protest­ors are afraid that demoli­tion will be con­tin­ued later today or at night.

When news spread this week, that a local con­struc­tion pro­ject includ­ing lux­ury estates, a hotel and the rebuild­ing of pre-war Brommy bridge endangered pre­ser­va­tion of the pro­tec­ted his­tor­ical monu­ment, protest formed quickly over the inter­net and cul­min­ated in sev­eral hun­dred act­iv­ists gath­er­ing at the con­struc­tion site. Police formed a cor­don to ensure safety of act­iv­ists, con­struc­tion and traffic. When act­iv­ists crowded the street, police blocked the road from both ends. Accord­ing to a police spokes­per­son, both police and the build­ing con­tractor agreed to delay con­struc­tion for safety reas­ons at 11:30 after one piece of the Ber­lin Wall was removed and dis­placed. Most con­struc­tion vehicles were withdrawn.

The demoli­tion of East­side Gal­lery, Berlin’s second most fre­quen­ted tour­ist spot and longest remain­ing stretch of the death strip, where sev­eral fugit­ives were shot or oth­er­wise found death dur­ing the city’s sep­ar­a­tion, caused a chorus of out­rage. The protest is led by the local act­iv­ist group “Medi­as­pree versen­ken”, a num­ber of local clubs, rep­res­ent­at­ives of all polit­ical parties and more than 30.000 sign­ees of a peti­tion addressed to mayor Klaus Wowereit, the build­ing con­tractor and high-ranking politi­cians, includ­ing chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and Fed­eral Pres­id­ent Joachim Gauck.

After demoli­tion stopped for now, act­iv­ists are afraid that it will con­tinue unnoticed. Police cleared the road block and left the scene at 12:15, few officers and most of the act­iv­ists remained on the site. A fence was placed where the piece was removed to pre­vent act­iv­ists from tres­passing the con­struc­tion site. “Now there’s a gap in the Wall, they’d bet­ter fill it with some barbed wire like they used to do it formerly”, an eld­erly lady lamented.

The incid­ent happened as the situ­ation about the pre­ser­va­tion of the river Spree’s banks was still tense. East­side Gal­lery is an inter­na­tion­ally fam­ous spot, where artists painted the rem­nants of the Ber­lin Wall on a dis­tance of more than one kilo­meter. The demoli­tion of parts of East­side Gal­lery to make room for lux­ury build­ing pro­jects is widely recog­nized as a viol­a­tion of the out­stand­ing his­tor­ical and cul­tural rel­ev­ance of the memorial and a fur­ther approach by the city’s sen­ate and the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg’s dis­trict admin­is­tra­tion to out­sell the riverside.

While both the city and dis­trict cast the blame on each other over respons­ib­il­ity in this case, it remains uncer­tain why a build­ing license was issued. The 300 act­iv­ists who gathered at the site voiced their indig­na­tion about all of these par­ti­cipants and deman­ded Wowereit to resig­nate from mayor’s office.

Eastside Gallery demolition delayed
Eastside Gallery demolition delayed

A police officer pro­tects the site as a con­struc­tion worker is seen in the back­ground work­ing on a fence to shield off the con­struc­tion site.

Eastside Gallery demolition delayed
Eastside Gallery demolition delayed
Eastside Gallery demolition delayed

Act­iv­ists gather at the gap where once a piece of the Ber­lin Wall stood, which is now seen in the background.


Eastside Gallery demolition delayed
Eastside Gallery demolition delayed

“Him­len over Berlin” – sky over Berlin


Eastside Gallery demolition delayed
Eastside Gallery demolition delayed
Eastside Gallery demolition delayed
Eastside Gallery demolition delayed

Only few minutes after police cleared the scene, tour­ists flock to East­side Gal­lery as usual.

All pho­tos are licensed as cre­at­ive com­mons (by-nc-sa).

2 comments
  1. Unglaub­lich was da passiert. Und so plötz­lich. Ich ver­stehe nicht, warum die wirk­lich eine der größten Tour­isten­at­trak­tionen und, viel wichti­ger, ein großes Stück Geschichte abreißen.

  2. Geil die Rollkof­fer­ar­mada war auch am start…;)

What others had to say about it

  1. […] these last weeks, the East Side Gal­lery debate has bom­barded my mind with con­tra­dict­ory thoughts, blur­ring even more my approach to German […]