About 5,000 people took to the streets of Germany's capital on Sunday to protest a controversial plan to remove the graffiti-covered East Side Gallery, the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall, to make way for luxury apartments.

No arrests were made during the peaceful protest, which featured musical performances and speeches by politicians and artists, police said.

Officials have cut a hole in the most iconic stretch of the wall, one of Berlin's main tourist attractions, to allow emergency vehicles to cross.

The luxury apartments are being built on what was once the infamous "death strip" built by East German authorities to keep people from leaving the country.

The Berlin Wall, whose construction started on Aug. 13, 1961, separated democratic West Germany from communist East Germany for 28 years.

At least 136 people, according to official figures, died while trying to make their way over the barrier to freedom in the West.

The Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989, amid wild celebrations on both sides of the city, but some stretches of the barrier have been retained as monuments to mark the capital's division into occupied zones at the end of World War II. EFE