TIJUANA, Mexico: German and Mexican artists staged a show on the border with the United States in protest at Washington’s plans to build a wall, thrilling hundreds but infuriating supporters of the controversial plan to stop the flow of illegal migrants.
The musicians took part Saturday in a “Tear Down this Wall” event organized by the Dresden Sinfoniker orchestra at a park in the Mexican city of Tijuana at the foot of the metallic fence that divides the two countries.
The show was originally due to take place on both sides of the border, but US authorities denied permission to hold the crowdfunded event on their side, citing security concerns.
Just before the concert began, orchestra director Markus Rindt shared his thoughts on the barriers that separate people around the world.
“Pieces of metal are for recycling and when they are on a wall, we should instead use them to build musical instruments, not to separate people,” he told the audience.
Rindt was a young man in 1987 when Ronald Reagan urged the then-Soviet Union to “Tear down this wall” in Berlin — the quote that inspired his project.
Next to the Tijuana Lighthouse, artists and their assistants observed a minute of silence in memory of the migrants who died trying to cross the barrier built more than two decades ago.
US President Donald Trump made expanding the border wall with Mexico one of his leading campaign themes, claiming criminals and drug traffickers were flooding over the southern US border. He also insisted that Mexico would pay for the new wall.
While a dozen American protesters shouted “President Trump, build the wall for our safety!” from their side of the border, musicians on the Mexican side used pieces of the metal barricade to make music.
Fabian Romero used a cutter and emery board, while one of his companions wielded an industrial hammer to hit a small container as hundreds of people looked on.
Some children painted their names on the dividing mesh, constructed of recycled material from the Gulf War. Others wrote messages to Trump.