The universal clock on the popular Alexanderplatz was already ticking on the 4th of November in 1989.
Now it displays a time when east Berliners were not allowed to meet in large numbers. But back in the autumn of 1989, each Monday saw more and more east Germans take to the streets in protest. They were calling for greater citizens rights; rights promised in the constitution. The 4th of November was a Saturday – a day of rest – so even more demonstrators were free to gather at Alexanderplatz. It was the first authorised protest in 40 years. For many it was their first participation in a mass movement and the first time that some diverse ideas were given a public airing. After addressing the crowd, Günter Schabowski, leader of the Communist party in Berlin was whistled and heckled – another first – something previously unthinkable. Who elected this man? the protestors demanded. It was clear they wanted real reforms. The following Monday the official communist newspaper lead with the story and published details of a law giving people the right to travel abroad. Three days later a journalist asked Gunter Schabowski when the law would come into action. His response inspired thousands to march on the Berlin Wall.
More on the Berlin Wall: www.euronews.net/1989-2009