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State justice minister calls Stuttgart rail protestors ‘spoiled'

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State justice minister calls Stuttgart rail protestors ‘spoiled'
Photo: DPA
08:30 CEST+02:00
Ulrich Goll, state justice minister in Baden-Württemberg, on Monday labeled the massive protests against the controversial rail project Stuttgart 21 “spoiled” and selfish.

“A growing number of people are extremely intolerant and spoiled by their own prosperity,” Goll complained to the Financial Times Deutschland, referring to the fierce opposition against the €4-billion plans to revamp Stuttgart's main train station.

“Nobody thinks about the coming generations, instead the focus is on avoiding something that is irksome to oneself,” he said.

Protests in southwestern city turned ugly last week after more than 100 people were injured when police used water cannons, pepper spray and batons to break up the crowds blockading the work site.

The construction in Stuttgart is part of a €7-billion project to make the city part of a 1,500-kilometre high-speed rail route across Europe. It will require 16 new tunnels, 18 new bridges, 60 kilometres of new train track and three new stations. Stuttgart's terminus will be transformed into an underground through-station – requiring a dramatic re-landscaping of the centre.

Goll, who is the lead candidate of the pro-business Free Democrats in Baden-Württemberg's state election next year, also said he did not fear voter backlash because of Stuttgart 21.

“We just have to have faith in ourselves,” he told the FTD. “I'm not afraid that we'll be punished when we go to the polls for the state legislature.”

Rüdiger Grube, CEO of Germany's national rail provider Deutsche Bahn, took aim at Stuttgart 21 opponents on Sunday, arguing that resistance to the massive undertaking was not justified.

In a guest opinion piece for Bild am Sonntag, Grube said the unpopular project was legitimate from a democratic standpoint and rejected opponents' "right to resist" the project.

"In our country, parliaments decide, no one else," Grube wrote.

DAPD/mry

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