Thousands of young East Germans trying to hear an outdoor rock concert by the Eurythmics just on the other side of the Berlin Wall fought with hundreds of club-wielding communist border police, witnesses said today.
Chanting “Down with the wall!” and “The wall must go!” the rock fans just before midnight Sunday broke through a metal fence set up by police in front of historic Brandenburg Gate, but police drove them back, the East German witnesses reported.
They said 20 to 30 East Germans were arrested, some of them dragged away by their hands and feet. It was not known if anyone was injured.
The concrete barrier, thrown up by the communists, has divided the city into West Berlin and communist East Berlin for 25 years.
The confrontation between East German youths and police was the worst since 1977, when a similar street battle took place on the city’s Alexanderplatz after police broke up a rock concert there.
About 3,000 East Germans gathered near the Berlin Wall to hear the concert by the Eurythmics, who were performing in front of the Reichstag building in West Berlin.
As the fans arrived, East German police put up a four-foot-high fence about 220 yards in front of the Brandenburg Gate, an 18th-Century stone monument straddling Unter den Linden street next to the wall.
About midnight, many of the East German rock fans broke through the fence, the witnesses said.
Police with clubs chased them back east down Unter den Linden, but the angry youths responded by chanting anti-wall slogans and throwing stones and bottles.