10 Nov 2009

Berlin celebrates 20th anniversary of fall of Wall

10:29 am on 10 November 2009

Thousands of people in the German capital, Berlin, have commemorated the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall which separated the city's east and west during the Cold War years.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been joined by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in crossing a bridge which was the first checkpoint to open after weeks of pro-democracy protests.

Crowds of people applauded as Mrs Merkel praised Mr Gorbachev for helping to make change possible.

Former president of Poland Lech Walesa toppled the first of a line of giant dominoes symbolising the fall of the wall on 9 November 1989.

The East German government built the wall in 1961 to end a mass flight of its citizens into West Berlin.

According to a study published this year, at least 136 people were killed at the Berlin Wall between 1961 and 1989 while trying to escape.