Monday, November 9, 2009

Wall anniversary celebrations kick off in Berlin

BERLIN: Berlin warmed up for the 20th anniversary of the Wall's fall with events throughout the city, as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a new transatlantic push to free those still oppressed.

"Our history did not end the night the Wall came down," Clinton told current and former European and US political heavyweights on the eve of the celebrations marking the end of the Cold War and the continent's division.

"To expand freedom to more people, we cannot accept that freedom does not belong to all people. We cannot allow oppression defined and justified by religion or tribe to replace that of (communist) ideology."

Leaders from across Europe are to join around 100,000 revellers on Monday at the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of national unity since the peaceful revolution that tore down the Wall in 1989.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will also host leaders including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, recalled that the end of Europe's post-war rift came as an utter surprise.

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