West Berlin on Wednesday (13 August) marked the 19th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall by laying wreaths to commemorate the 70 East Germans who died trying to cross it to the West.
GV Members of the three allied armed forces and war veterans gathered around the Templehof Memorial
GV RAF Guard of Honour
SV Wreaths lie on ground before memorial (2 shots)
GV Army and Airforce chiefs and veterans stand in silence
CU American British and French officers saluting
TS Along Bernauer Strasse showing old shop fronts in front of the Berlin Wall
GV Bulldozers and cranes demolishing shop fronts on Bernauer Strasse (3 shots)
LV Crane moving rubble ZOOM INTO Wreath on cross (2 shots)
GV People looking out of apartment windows in East Berlin over-looking the wall (3 shots)
SV East German troops removing gates and on guard with rifles
GV Crane demolishing old buildings (2 shots)
LV West Berlin guard see behind wall
CU West Berlin guard with automatic rifle
SV Soldiers levelling site for new wall
GV New section of wall where old buildings were demolished
TS Along area where new wall is under construction
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: West Berlin on Wednesday (13 August) marked the 19th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall by laying wreaths to commemorate the 70 East Germans who died trying to cross it to the West. In an anniversary address, West Berlin Mayor Dietrich Stobbe described August the 13th, 1961, when the East Germans began the wall, as a dark day in Berlin's history. The anniversary of the building of the Berlin wall and the commemoration of the airlift into Berlin's Templehof airport in 1948 are two annual events revered by West Berliners.
SYNOPSIS: The airlift by the city's Western occupation powers helped more than two million Berliners survive a blockade of the city imposed by Stalin. He was trying to bring the whole of Berlin into the Soviet control.
East Germany marked this year's anniversary of the wall with demolition work in Bernauer Strasse, the notorious Street of Shame that was divided by the wall in 1961.
The fronts of old buildings in Bernauer Strasse between the French and Russian sectors had become popular with tourists. Now the buildings are being demolished and replaced by giant concrete wall panels.
Until now, the concrete panels had formed a second line of obstacles behind the shop fronts, which stretched for 15-hundred yards (metres). Wreaths still mark unsuccessful escape attempts by East Germans.
East German newspaper editorials, without referring to the wall directly, spoke of August the 13th, 1961, as the day East Germany demonstrated the inviolability of its borders. Before then, there was nothing to hinder traffic between the four sectors of the city. Thousands of Germans crossed daily from the East, choosing to live in West Germany rather than in the communis East. But the East Germans could not allow the population drain to continue and the Berlin Wall was built.
Western politicians and statesmen have described the wall as infamous and a Wall of Shame. The East Germans say it is a barrier to imperialism. Since 1961, the wall has been extended into 420 kilometres (260 miles) of some of the world's most sophisticated border fortifications, running from the Baltic Sea to Czechoslovakia. The fortifications are said to include 42-thousands electronically-activated scatter guns. Human movement automatically triggers up to 120 cube-shaped projectiles from tubes pointed at various heights and directions.