German parliament kicks off weekend of Berlin Wall commemorations

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German parliament kicks off weekend of Berlin Wall commemorations

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The German parliament has marked the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The special ceremony in the Bundestag kicked off a weekend of events in the German capital.

The parliament’s President, Nobert Lammert, said the wall’s demise was the culmination of many acts of protest across the former communist states of eastern Europe.

“It was not a miracle, any more than a natural phenomenon. Rather it was the result of a peaceful revolution which was unprecedented in German history, which sped from one event to the next at a breathtaking pace over several months,” Lammert told the chamber.

Singer, poet and former East German opposition member Wolf Biermann broke with parliamentary protocol by performing his protest song “Encouragement” on his guitar.

The artist, who was expelled from the ex-GDR in 1976 and stripped of his East German citizenship, said the song had comforted dissidents locked up under the old communist government.

Controversially, he attacked the modern far-left Die Linke party, which was formed out of East Germany’s former ruling communists, as remnants of the old regime.

The commemorations continue in Berlin over the weekend.