Puppets on Parade Giants Stomp Through Berlin on Reunification Day

Despite terror warnings, hundreds of thousands turned out in Berlin to watch two gigantic puppets wander through the streets of the capital. The show was staged to mark 19 years since German reunification.


The warnings were almost impossible to ignore. Prior to the weekend celebration in Berlin -- to mark the 19th anniversary of the October 3, 1990 reunification of East and West Germany -- a number of terror threats by al-Qaida and the Taliban had security officials deeply concerned.

Photo Gallery

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Photo Gallery: Giant Celebration
On Saturday and Sunday in Berlin, security was tight. But despite a heightened level of alert, hundreds of thousands streamed into the center of the city to witness a giant puppet show and to commemorate unified Germany's rebirth almost two decades ago.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was in Saarbrücken, which played host to this year's official reunification party, on the weekend. She said that Germany's reunification "was the result of boldness, determination and moral courage."

No Violence

In Berlin, tens of thousands turned out to watch two gigantic marionettes stomp through their city. The larger of the two, which was 15 meters high, started his journey to the city center in former West Berlin by climbing out of the waters of the Spree River near the main train station. The smaller of the two giants, 7 meters tall, made her way from former East Berlin. The two met at the Brandenburg Gate and fell into each other's arms -- a powerful symbol of Germany's reunification.

The two puppets were created by the French troupe Royal de Luxe and were built out of wood, steel and other bits of cast-off material. Special cranes provided their support while a small army of puppeteers hanging off the oversized figures controlled their life-like movements.

Thousands of police provided security for the event in the Berlin center and there were no reports of violence.

cgh -- with wire reports

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