Government removes long piece of Berlin Wall in midnight raid





One of the last remaining pieces of Berlin Wall in the centre of the German capital was removed by workers on contract to the government in a secretly engineered operation over the Easter weekend, it was revealed yesterday.

In the hope that no one would notice because of the quiet bank holiday, the 18-metre strip of graffitied wall was yanked from its foundations in the dead of night...

At first the media spearheaded a hunt for the tourist attraction which contains well-known murals painted by international artists.

One image is of an East German Trabant car, bursting through the wall on November 9, 1989. Another carries the slogan: "don't destroy history" -- an appeal by artists for parts of the wall to be kept intact so that young Berliners could learn about their past.

After a couple of days spent keeping its head down, the government finally owned up. The federal civil engineering and planning office said it had removed the panels so that construction of the new environment ministry could go ahead on the site...

Few sections of the Berlin Wall, which snaked across almost 27 miles of the border between East and West Berlin between 1961 and 1989, remain, despite campaigners' efforts to keep parts of it intact. Its former path is marked by a barely noticeable cobbled strip.

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