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Reagan Arrives in West Berlin Hours After Violent Protests

June 12, 1987

BERLIN (AP) _ President Reagan arrived in heavily guarded West Berlin this morning, just hours after hundreds of demonstrators protesting American policies smashed windows, looted stores and battled with police.

No protests were reported in the city as Reagan arrived at Tempelhof U.S. Air Force base for a four-hour visit, police said.

After Reagan arrived, police announced they had banned three legally registered demonstrations that were to have taken place during the presidential visit because they didn’t think demonstration organizers could control participants.

Vans of riot police cruised parts of the city, and officials said 10,000 policemen, including 1,000 brought in from West Germany, would be on duty during the presidential visit.

Reagan was met at Tempelhof by honor guards from the American, British and French military forces which still officially occupy West Berlin 42 years after the end of World War II.

The president was to deliver a foreign policy speech at the Berlin Wall and renew U.S. support for West Berlin.

Bulletproof glass panels were installed to at the presidential speech site. An American official speaking on condition of anonymity dspescribed the bulletproof panels as a standard precaution and said they weren’t in response to any specific threats.

In the prepared speech, Reagan challenged Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev to prove he wants world peace by going to Berlin to ″tear down″ the wall.

″General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate,″ Reagan said in the prepared address.

″Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate.

″Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.″

Specifically, Reagan urged increased air access to West Berlin and suggested the city be the site of United Nations meetings or world conferences on human rights, arms control and other issues.

Reagan also suggested, among other things, that Berlin - East and West - be the site of a future Olympic Games.

Thursday night’s violence came at the end of a largely peaceful march through West Berlin’s city center by nearly 25,000 protesters who walked behind a giant banner reading: ″We Say No to Reagan’s Policies.″

Helmeted riot police armed with shields and clubs fired tear gas and charged groups of militants who threw bottles, rocks and sidewalk paving stones.

The clashes continued into the night as protesters looted at least four stores and set fire to a van and a barricade.

Police said today that 59 demonstrators had been arrested and about 67 policemen injured, one of them seriously enough to be hospitalized. Officials said they did not know how many demonstrators had been hurt, although there had been injuries among the protesters.

A spokesman for West Berlin’s Justice Department, Volker Kaehne, estimated that at least half of the several hundred people who fought police had come from West Germany and the Netherlands to take part in the anti-Reagan protests.

Three demonstrations were scheduled for today, well away from the area where Reagan was to speak - from a platform in front of the Brandenburg Gate, a triumphal passageway blocked for 26 years by the Berlin Wall.

The gate stands just inside the wall in East Berlin and West Berlin television said Thursday night there were signs that East German officials might block streets near the gate to prevent spectators from attempting to hear the Reagan speech from the eastern side.

East German workers Thursday covered a stretch of wall at the gate with a coat of white paint, a frequent practice when Western VIPs appear on the West Berlin side.

The paint covered up graffiti that had been painted on the wall, but shortly after the whitewashing, a new slogan appeared - ″Hello, World. Welcome Reagan 1987.″

West Berlin television said that among the slogans on the wall before it was painted white was ″Ronald Reagan Go Home.″

An official of the U.S. Embassy in East Berlin said it was thought the new slogan was the unauthorized work of U.S. Army soldiers stationed in West Berlin.

At the U.S. Air Force’s Templehof airfield in West Berlin, Reagan was to host a birthday party for members of the U.S. military and their dependents to mark the 750th anniversary of Berlin’s founding.

The president also was to meet with West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the country’s president, Richard von Weizsaecker.

He was then to look across the Berlin Wall into Communist East Berlin from a balcony on the Reichstag, Germany’s pre-World War II parliament building.

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