BERLIN (AFP/Reuters) - World leaders past and present gathered in the German capital on Monday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Walls fall, which led to German reunification and hastened the demise of the Soviet Union. German Chancellor Angela Merkel led leaders including Russias Dmitry Medvedev through the Brandenburg Gate on Monday, the climax of ceremonies marking 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The procession included French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Britains Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represented the United States. Images of the historic night of November 9, 1989, when East Berliners trapped behind the 3.6 meter high concrete barrier rushed checkpoints to force it open, have dominated German television and newspaper coverage for the past week. German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev Monday on the bridge where many East Germans had their first taste of freedom, as tens of thousands toasted the Berlin Walls fall 20 years ago. World leaders came together with huge crowds recalling the defining moment of the end of communist rule in Europe, when the crumbling East German state finally opened the despised concrete border on November 9, 1989. Merkel, who grew up in the communist state, Gorbachev and ex-Polish president Lech Walesa passed through what used to be the Bornholmer Strasse border crossing, where euphoric easterners first went to the West that night. It is not only a day of celebration for Germans. It is a day of celebration for the whole of Europe, she said. The United States should cede some of its powers to international organisations to create a world order, Chancellor Angela Merkel said. We Europeans are used to this.... We have voluntarily given up many of our powers to Brussels and to the European Union, said Merkel in an unusually sharp criticism of Washington. But our American partners find it much more difficult to hand over powers to the International Monetary Fund or to any other international organisation, she said. Within the EU, Germany has become used to accepting the will of the majority, even if it does not agree, but this has not yet lodged itself in the American psyche, she said. What we need today is a much more multi-polar vision than that to which we have become accustomed, the chancellor added. This world will only be a peaceful and good world if we have more of a world order and more multilateral co-operation, she said. Earlier Merkel attended a very moving memorial service at a church where pro-democracy rallies were held in the weeks before the Wall was opened, and lamented the enduring scars of the countrys postwar division. German unity is still incomplete, Merkel told ARD public television, noting how east Germany still lagged behind the west in economic growth, with joblessness nearly twice as high. We must tackle this problem if we want to achieve equal quality of life. The chancellor gave her warning before the main ceremonies at the historic Brandenburg Gate with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, presidents Nicolas Sarkozy of France and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The festivities at the Gate, once on the border between East and West Berlin, featured an open-air concert and the symbolic toppling of 1,000 giant styrofoam dominoes along two kilometres of the Walls former course. Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said on Monday that he expected the Berlin Wall to fall, but that he and German ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl were caught off guard by how quickly it happened. Gorbachev, who is still a revered figure in Germany, Walesa and dissidents who helped end European communism will also be on hand at the former death strip where border guards once had shoot-to-kill orders. At least 136 people who tried to cross it were killed. Following weeks of protests against the regime, East Germanys Stalinist authorities suddenly allowed people to travel to the West that autumn evening. After 28 years as prisoners in their own country, stunned East Germans streamed to checkpoints and rushed past bewildered guards, many falling tearfully into the arms of West Germans on the other side. Easterner Christel Schneider, now a 62-year-old bank employee, said the mood that night was electrifying. I crossed the border into the West it was madness, she said, still breathless from the memories. There were so many people that we were driving at a snails pace. At a ceremony late Sunday, Clinton issued a call for a new transatlantic push to free those still oppressed. Our history did not end the night the Wall came down, she said. To expand freedom to more people, we cannot accept that freedom does not belong to all people. We cannot allow oppression defined and justified by religion or tribe to replace that of (communist) ideology. In a tribute to be delivered at the Brandenburg Gate, Brown called the unity of Berlin, Germany and Europe majestic achievements. The Wall was swept away by the greatest force of all the unbreakable spirit of men and women who dared to dream in the darkness, he said. But Medvedev said Russia had often felt on the back foot since the Wall fell, despite assurances at the time that NATO would not expand eastward, as it since has. We were hoping the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact would be accompanied by a different degree of Russias integration into common European space, he told Germanys Spiegel magazine. What have we received as a result? NATO is still a bloc whose rockets are targeting the Russian territory. Meanwhile French President Nicolas Sarkozy raised eyebrows with an account, posted on Facebook, of how he rushed to Berlin November 9, 1989 and was among the first to chip away at the Wall. Critics poked holes in his story. An overwhelming majority of Germans are still grateful for the Walls fall, according to a poll in the Leipziger Volkszeitung daily, with 79 percent of those surveyed calling November 9, 1989 a joyous day. But sociologist Frithjof Hager of Berlins Free University said national unification, sealed in 1990, was still a work in progress. I believe the authoritarian mindset is still an issue (in the east) such things only change very slowly, he told AFP. But I think simply pointing the finger at easterners would be deeply unfair.