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Pre-dawn operation removes part of Berlin Wall

BERLIN – Work crews backed by about 250 police have removed portions of the Berlin Wall known as the East Side Gallery to make way for an upscale building project, despite demands by protesters that the site be preserved.

Police spokesman Alexander Toennies told The Associated Press there were no incidents as work began about 5 a.m. to remove four sections of the wall, each about 1.5 yards wide. That will make way for an access route to the planned high-rise luxury apartments along the nearby Spree River.

Plans to remove part of the 3/4-mile stretch of wall sparked protests that developers were sacrificing history for profit.

At least 136 people died trying to scale the wall that divided communist-run East Berlin from West Berlin.

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