• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

50,000 join anti-nuclear power march in Berlin

AFP/DDP/The Local · 5 Sep 2009, 20:21

Published: 05 Sep 2009 20:21 GMT+02:00

The marchers, backed by 400 tractors, demanded that Germany stick to its commitment to close all nuclear plants by 2020 and also called for the closure of a radioactive dump at Gorleben in eastern Germany.

The police refused to give an estimate of the crowd but organisers - ranging from the Greens to members of the Protestant church - put the figure at 50,000 people, marching from the Berlin train station to the Brandenburg Gate.

The protest included a group of famers from Lower Saxony who have driven their tractors from the nuclear waste sites at Gorleben and Wolfenbüttel to the capital.

The issue of nuclear power has slowly become more prominent as the election nears and while information has been released about the poor conditions at the Asse nuclear waste site near Wolfenbüttel, as well as repeated shut-downs of some older nuclear power stations such as that at Krümmel.

Germany decided in 2000 under former chancellor Gerhard Schröder's Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens - when current German leader Angela Merkel's conservative party was in opposition - to mothball its 17 reactors by 2020.

The SPD is currently in coalition with Merkel's conservatives, but members of her CDU party want to look at extending the life of some reactors, which produce around 30 percent of German power. This view is also shared by the party that Merkel wants to govern with after the September 27 elections, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP). Opinion polls indicate the two parties will attract enough votes to form such a coalition.

"The end of nuclearisation has been promised since a long time but up until now nothing has been done," said Jochen Stay, a spokesman for the march organisers.

Germany's Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a Social Democrat, said Merkel's conservatives should "stop being the right arm of the nuclear industry," adding that "the future belongs to renewable energies."

Story continues below…

According to a Greenpeace study released Saturday, more than half of Germans want the coming government, regardless of its political persuasion, to continue the closure of the country’s nuclear power stations.

The survey, commissioned from TNS Emnid by Greenpeace showed that 59 percent of those asked rejected the idea of extending the lifespan of older nuclear power stations that is currently being considered.

This share is the same across east and western areas of the country, while those who support the Christian Democratic Union and the Free Democratic Party are less positive, with 50 percent of the former and 49 percent of the latter expecting the next government, due to be elected on September 27, to take the country away from nuclear power.

AFP/DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
VW to pay US suppliers $1.2 bln over Dieselgate
Volkswagen model vehicles on a dealer lot in Bedford, Massachusetts, USA. Photo: Cj Gunther/Picture Alliance/DPA

German auto giant Volkswagen has agreed to pay US suppliers $1.2 billion to settle claims emanating from the "Dieselgate" pollution scandal, the firm and suppliers said late Friday.

This Week in History
75 years since one of Holocaust's worst massacres
Photo: DPA

On Thursday, German president Joachim Gauck spoke in Kiev 75 years after the Nazis slaughtered 33,771 Jews during one of the worst single massacres of the Holocaust.

Six things you need to know about troubled Deutsche Bank

Shares in Deutsche bank plunged on Friday morning, dragging down other European banks and markets worldwide. Here are six things to know about Germany's biggest lender.

Deutsche Bahn jacks up prices for first time in 3 years
Photo: DPA

Germany's main rail provider, the state-owned Deutsche Bahn (DB), announced on Friday that it will raise prices on long-distance train travel.

Baby found alive in suitcase with skeleton in Hanover
File photo: DPA.

A baby has been found alive, along with the skeleton of another infant inside of a suitcase in Hanover, police reported on Friday.

Morocco to speed up repatriation of illegal migrants
Photo: DPA

Morocco has agreed to streamline the procedures for the repatriation of citizens living illegally in Germany, the royal court said late on Thursday.

890,000 refugees arrived in Germany last year - not 1.1m
Photo: DPA

Previous reports had suggested that around 1.1 million people entered Germany to seek asylum last year. But now the German government has confirmed the number was actually lower.

Racist attacks cast cloud over Dresden Unity Day planning
A police vehicle in Dresden. Photo: DPA.

As Dresden prepares to host Germany’s national Unity Day celebrations on Monday, the capital of the eastern state of Saxony is upping security after a mosque was targeted by a homemade bomb.

Sinking Deutsche Bank stock sends shock across Europe
Photo: DPA

Shares in Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank plummeted on the Frankfurt stock market on Friday, dragging other European banks and global markets down with it, after reports some customers were pulling money out.

The Local List
10 things you never knew about German reunification
Reunification celebrations in Hanover in 2014. Photo: DPA

With German Unity Day (October 3rd) happening on Monday, Germans are looking forward to a three-day weekend. But did you know these facts about reunification and German Unity Day?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,789
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd