Celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall have begun at the Brandenburg Gate. Tributes from world leaders have been pouring into the German capital to mark the occasion. A series of religious and civil ceremonies are being held throughout the capital at which people are recalling the night the barriers across Europe began to crumble. The key architects of the dismantling of the Iron Curtain, the former Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, the former American President, George Bush and the former German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl addressed the German parliament, the Bundestag, this afternoon.
It was on this day ten years ago that East Germany's Communist Party Media Director told a news conference "all citizens will be allowed to leave the country". It has since emerged that the Politbureau had not fully worked out how the new arrangements would be implemented. But that night, the citizens of East Germany took possession of their new freedom and tore down the most potent symbol of Cold War division, the Berlin Wall. Tonight, tens of thousands will join in an all-night party at the Brandenburg Gate to celebrate the fall of the wall.
Politicians have spent a decade trying to catch up with the consequences of the collapse of communism. In Germany itself, may Easterners feel they are second class citizens in their own country, while Westerners complain about the financial cost of re-unification. A decade on, unemployment among former East Germans is still high.