European leaders and former dissidents have marked a quarter-century since a dramatic East German protest in the city of Leipzig that helped bring down the Berlin Wall.
Many see the turning point of East Germany's "Peaceful Revolution" as October 9, 1989, when police abandoned plans to forcibly disperse a peaceful demonstration by some 70,000 people in Leipzig.
At a ceremony at Leipzig’s Gewandhaus concert hall, German President Joachim Gauck called the night of October 9, 1989 "magical" and paid tribute to the demonstrators' courage.
Gauck, once a pro-democracy pastor in East Germany, was joined by his counterparts from Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary as well as dozens of former activists.
The ceremony comes one month to the day before the reunified capital celebrates 25 years since the communist authorities opened the Berlin Wall on November 9.