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 Celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall 

 
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ZAIN ASHER, CNN ANCHOR: ANCHOR: Germany is preparing to commemorate commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Official events take place on take place on Sunday.

CNN's Jim Clancy was there as it happened back in 1989. Jim, now war was a symbol of isolation isolation of despair. despair. You were there as it was taken down taken down It must have been such an emotional scene. Walk us through it.

JIM CLANCY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly certainly was and it caught a lot of people somewhat somewhat by surprise. There had already been things in the works. You know, it was not just a political, but an economic crisis that confronted confronted the German Democratic Republic, the GDR, East Germany. They were having their support removed by Moscow. There were a lot of things that play. They had seen thousands of people flee flee the country already through other places like Bulgaria going into going into Vienna, seeking seeking asylum. asylum. They decided they had to do something and had built up over the week. Here's a look back of one of our reports, the detail that week.

JIM CLANCY AT THE FALL OF THE WALL ON NOVEMBER 9, 1989: Monday, East German leaders promised a new travel law they hoped would stall stall the flight to the West of tens of thousands of skilled workers, but experts said it was too little, too late.

UNKNOWN EXPERT: This is a very important step, of course, but I do think people will more.

JIM CLANCY: The experts were right. Tens of thousands of East Germans took to the streets of Leipzig Monday night to demand just that. Many were outraged outraged the new travel law permitted them only 30 days a year in the West.

As the pressure mounted mounted Tuesday, more than 40 members of the East German cabinet resigned. resigned. Leader Egon Krenz promised free elections on Wednesday and more freedom of assembly. But the people were already assembling as they wished and even the resignation of the ruling politburo of the Communist Party failed to appease appease demands for still more change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Egon Krenz has his backup against the Wall.

JIM CLANCY: The watershed watershed came Thursday. The East German leadership recognized their backs were against the Wall, the Wall that had been their armor of isolation isolation for 28 years, it was open.

After almost three decades of separation, Germans of East and West embraced embraced in a common victory. Some came because they wanted to test whether it was true. Others embittered by years of repression repression came vowing vowing they would never go back go back

By Friday, the flow of East Germans crossing into the West became an unstoppable tide. Border guards stamped visas until it became obvious. obvious. That tide and the enthusiasm that drove it couldn't be slowed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is my birthday and this is my best present for this birthday.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wonderful. This is wonderful.

JIM CLANCY: It was just that kind of enthusiasm. People power, if you will that brought down brought down this Wall Zain and we're going to celebrate it this week, November 9th, special occasion here in Berlin.

ZAIN ASHER: Yeah, and it's so remarkable remarkable that it's only been 25 years since the Soviet Empire crumbled crumbled and you got a front row seat to all of it, but tell us about this weekend. What sort sort of celebrations can we expect?

JIM CLANCY: Oh, we're going to have a lot of music, but we're going to have a lot of other things going on as well. We've got thousands upon thousands of people pouring into this City. Many of the tourists, who have come from allover the world, have joined me this morning along this East side gallery. This is the place where they can come and look at one of the longest sections of the Berlin Wall still in existence. existence. Lot of people think they should have left more of it as a reminder, reminder, but people hated it so much they wanted to get rid of it. People come here today, they want to pose pose for pictures, they come in here tens of thousands.

At the same time, one of the big things that they're going to do is they're going to have a Wall of Light as they call it and they're already erecting erecting these portable portable light stands that will go the entire entire length of what was a Wall that surrounded Berlin, a special occasion, those will all be lighted. What a scene that is going to be. Peter Gabriel is going to be in concert. So much more. Hope everyone can join us.


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