Sarkozy challenged over claims of smashing Wall

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The Independent Online

President Nicolas Sarkozy became embroiled in a bizarre verbal ping-pong match yesterday after he announced that he had personally helped to demolish the Berlin Wall on the first day of its fall 20 years ago.

On his Facebook page, the French President said that he had dashed to Berlin on the morning of 9 November 1989, with the future prime minister, Alain Juppé, after hearing rumours that the Wall was coming down. The page carried a picture of the young Sarkozy attacking the Wall as part of what was claimed to be a large crowd assembled on the western side.

Several other websites pointed out that rumours of the Wall's fall had only started in the evening and that no crowds assembled on the western side until the next day. Mr Juppé said on his blog that he had travelled to Berlin with Mr Sarkozy "several days" after the Wall fell. The Elysee Palace then said that Mr Sarkozy had made two visits to Berlin, on the 9th and the 16th.