Yearning for freedom led to fall of the Wall: Merkel
The fall of the Berlin Wall was an example of the human yearning for freedom, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said as she led celebrations marking its 25th anniversary.
Ms Merkel said the celebrations also honoured those who helped bring down the barrier that for 28 years symbolised the Cold War.
On the night of November 9, 1989, thousands of East Berliners streamed through the once-closed border crossings after communist authorities caved in to mounting pressure and relaxed travel restrictions that had for decades prevented citizens from going to the west.
"The fall of the Wall has shown us that dreams can come true," Ms Merkel said at the main memorial site for the Wall on Bernauer Strasse. "Nothing has to stay the way it is, however big the hurdles are."
The fall of the Wall was the climax of weeks of popular protests spurred by changes that had already taken place elsewhere in eastern Europe.
Ms Merkel noted the important examples set by the democracy movements in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, and praised East Germans who were inspired by them to stand up to the dictatorship. She also honoured the 138 people who died at the Wall.
Ms Merkel noted that November 9 was a significant date also for being the day when, in 1938, Nazi paramilitaries launched a pogrom against the country's Jewish population, which led to the murder of millions.