Protests stop removal of Wall section

March 4, 2013 at 12:49 PM

BERLIN, March 4 (UPI) -- Construction of luxury apartments in Berlin has been suspended after thousands protested the development would destroy a portion of the historic Berlin Wall.

An estimated 6,000 demonstrators showed up Sunday in an attempt to preserve a section of the wall known as the East Side Gallery, Der Spiegel reported Monday.

That section contains more than 100 murals painted by artists from the world since 1989, when the Wall was breached as formerly communist East Germany joined democratic West Germany.

About 70 feet of the wall would be removed to allow access to a high-rise housing complex under construction by developer Maik Uwe Hinkel and a new pedestrian bridge over the Spree River planned by the city.

A contract signed by the city and the developer in February stipulates the wall will be removed, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The wall is protected as a historic monument and signs along its path warn of criminal prosecution for anyone damaging it.

Hinkel said he is stopping work on removing the wall section until he talks with city officials, adding that he has received threats and e-mail messages with the phrase "Heil Hinkel."

His apartments would be priced at $3,580 to $13,018 per square meter.

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