David Hasselhoff sings to save Berlin Wall

US actor David Hasselhoff, center, is surrounded by police officers as he attends a protest against the removal of a section of a historic part of the former Berlin Wall. Photo / AP
US actor David Hasselhoff, center, is surrounded by police officers as he attends a protest against the removal of a section of a historic part of the former Berlin Wall. Photo / AP

US singer and actor David Hasselhoff has returned to the city where he symbolically sang for freedom in front of half a million people after the fall of the detested Berlin Wall in 1989.

But this time the Baywatch and Knight Rider star was in the German capital to lend star power backing to protesters of plans to remove part of the Wall's longest surviving stretch.

"I've come to lend my support because I believe this is a piece of history," the 60-year-old told a crowd of several thousand who turned out under unseasonably chilly but blues skies on Sunday.

"And it's very important to remember all the people who lost their lives in search of freedom," he said.

Hasselhoff has a large and loyal fan base in Germany and is remembered for his now legendary performance of his song Looking for Freedom at the iconic Brandenburg Gate on December 31, 1989.

Fans in the crowd, some of whom shouted "David, you're our hero!" as others held aloft lifebelts, a reference to his role as a lifeguard in Baywatch, were rewarded by the actor singing the chorus of his hit.

Opponents have rallied several times along the 1.3km stretch of the Wall, known as the East Side Gallery, since the beginning of March when a first panel was taken away.

Since 1990, the outdoor gallery has been covered in brightly coloured graffiti murals, including the famous Fraternal Kiss depicting Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and his East German counterpart, Erich Honecker.

The 3.6-metre-high stretch is a tourist magnet and a must-see for history buffs retracing the dark chapter of Berlin's 28-year-long division who are otherwise hard pressed to find remnants of the Wall to photograph.

Plans to provide access to a 63-metre-high residential development along the banks of the Spree river as well as access to a planned bridge require a 22-metre segment of the Wall to be dismantled.

- AFP

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