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Police officers guard a construction site and sections of the East Side Gallery, while parts of the former Berlin Wall are removed in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday. 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. Plans to remove part of the 3⁄4-mile stretch of wall sparked protests that developers were sacrificing history for profit.

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Part of Berlin Wall removed in pre-dawn operation

For nearly 30 years, the Berlin Wall was the hated symbol of the division of Europe, a gray, concrete mass that snaked through neighborhoods, separating families and friends. On Wednesday, it took hundreds of police to guarantee the safe removal of 15 feet of what’s left of the wall.

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