The Sun

Berlin Wall anniversary - Angela Merkel urges Europe to defend ‘democracy and freedom' 30 years on.

Angela Merkel has today urged Europe to defend "democracy and freedom" 30 years after the Berlin Wall was torn down.

Thousands are gathering in Germany to mark the historic anniversary paying tribute to the peaceful protests which helped crush communism in the eastern block.

Chancellor Merkel, who was raised in East Germany under its twisted ideology, today placed a rose on one of the last remaining sections of the wall at Bernauer Strasse.

The German leader, who also lit a candle at a memorial in the city, said values of tolerance and human rights "must always be lived out and defended anew."

Following World War II, Germany was divided in two – with the Soviet-aligned east, known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR), held captive by an oppressive regime and a brutal secret police force.

The imposing concrete wall was constructed in 1961 to stop the flow of defectors seeking democracy and freedom of speech.

But 28 years later, with the GDR economy crumbling and unrest throughout of the Soviet block including in countries such as Poland and Hungary, Germany was about to be united once again.

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