• Germany's news in English

Stuttgart 21 protests come to Berlin

The Local · 26 Oct 2010, 15:14

Published: 26 Oct 2010 10:38 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Oct 2010 15:14 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

About 600 activists caught a specially chartered train to the capital for a full day of protest. Demonstrators told The Local that all Germans, not just those in the Baden-Württemberg capital Stuttgart, should be worried about the €4.1 billion development.

They lodged a petition with the Swiss Embassy for the state of Baden-Württemberg to be admitted to the Swiss Confederation and planted a chestnut tree near the German Chancellery as a symbol “against police violence and propaganda.”

The activists chartered their own train rather than take Deutsche Bahn, the national rail operator behind the Stuttgart 21 project.

Click here for photos of the protestors in Berlin.

With support for the protest spreading around the country, especially in the wake of the violent scenes in which police turned water cannon and pepper spray on the crowds, demonstrators were hoping to cement Stuttgart 21 as a national issue.

“We are all citizens, whether in Stuttgart or here in Berlin,” protestor Otto Pfeiffer, 56, told The Local. “We wanted to show that this is a problem for all of Germany and not just in one place.”

A common message among the demonstrators was that the people who came in force from Stuttgart to Berlin were not a rabble but rather ordinary people who knew the facts of the issue and felt strongly about it.

“This is the first time I’ve ever been to a protest,” said Geirde Glaser, 34.

Another protestor, Christina Wofur, 34, said: “We have a mix of people here today because they are all decent people who have informed themselves and decided to engage with the problem ... We’re hoping to cement some support today.”

Jule Keinarkh, 26, said the fact that part of the funding came from the federal government made it a truly national issue.

“We wanted to protest at every level to show our dissent. With all the money going on this project it means that there won’t be any for the kinds of social projects that the people really want,” she said. “We’re a good mix here: old, young, students, bakers – everyone. The point is that these are all people who have gone and got their facts, and informed themselves and decided to take part.”

Ursula Kleiner, 41, said she now had to use a special Cortisone lung spray because she suffered the effects of tear gas during the demonstration that turned violent.

“The thing is that many citizens can identify with this problem,” she said. “We are the little guy standing up to the big, well-funded corporations and we want people internationally to see how we’re pushing against this.

“The plans for the station are against German democracy, and that is something that everyone can relate to.”

Story continues below…

The massive project, which aims to make Stuttgart part of a 1,500-kilometre high-speed rail route across Europe, and requires a dramatic re-landscaping of the city centre, has sparked huge protests in the southwestern city.

In one violent incident, police turned water cannon and pepper spray on a crowd that was blockading the Schlossgarten park, where 300 trees were due to be chopped down.

The demonstration gathered at the Brandenburg Gate late Tuesday morning. Demonstrations were set to continue from 5 pm at the Deutsche Bahn tower at Potsdamer Platz. Speakers will include theatre director Volker Lösch, Stuttgart councillor Hannes Rockenbauch, Left Party MP Sabine Leidig and Greens MP Winfried Hermann.

Stuttgart 21 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. The cost of Stuttgart 21 project is estimated at €4.1 billion but related rail overhauls are expected to cost a further €3 billion.

The Local/rm/dw

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

11:18 October 26, 2010 by Joshontour
The north wing is already gone. The trees in the park are already cut down. There is no more reason to stop the project. You wanted to protect the trees and the train station, but they are already gone... what is left to protest? The K21 project is also a "billions" project, so it sure cannot be the money. I think you people are just too invested in stopping this. The bell has already rung, now go home.
11:57 October 26, 2010 by pepsionice
With the negotiation in full effect...I'd actually turn this into a public event and hand the anti-21 crowd the map of changes and a black marker pen....then ask to "X" out everything they want canceled. I know they will put a big black X over the whole map and then stand there proudly. Beyond canceling the plan....they have no real concept of what would be acceptable to themselves or the majority of people in the city.

This is the sad part of the story. If they'd said that only two stations should be built, or half the train-lines....then maybe people would listen. But there is no alternate plan in existence, and never will be.

Now, they march across Germany....proudly proclaiming their anti-Bahn plan, but they can't utter a single word over what should be in the plan.
11:58 October 26, 2010 by SoirZepol
Sometimes I do not understand these people. I mean of course nobody wants the city to look somewhat devastated, bu that we only be a temporary situation. Afterwards, I am sure this will bring Stuttgart a lot of benefits; besides, I am sure this will bring some jobs to the citizens of Stuttgart, so please, go back and start thinking in how to take the best out of it!
12:18 October 26, 2010 by William Thirteen
how ironic that they took the train to our new Hauptbahnhof...
14:51 October 26, 2010 by SwabianEnglander
I see the comments section has been colonised by the usual ignorant trolls. No chance of an informed debate here then.
14:56 October 26, 2010 by Clapoti
So just so that I understand well... those people are protesting the construction of a new train station and the destruction of the old one... but they didn't protest against the rise from 65 to 67 years old for the retirement age?
20:17 October 26, 2010 by fred85
This is why Germanys falling apart. Berlin already looks and smells like crap and they dont care about anyone left that actually has culture! Oh and you speak of jobs like the south doesn't have them? How much does Bavaria and the Swabian regions make compared to the rest of Germany... OH thats right THEY PAY ALMOST EVERYTHING in the Country because only 3 out of 5 people work in the north.. YOUR all idiots!
10:38 October 27, 2010 by moistvelvet
Next week we'll have 1,000s of green earth activists flying to New Zealand for a days talk on climate change, what idiots go by train to demonstrate about development in train travel? It doesn't matter if they've "chartered" their own train, DB still get payment for them using their railnetwork, what muppets!

As has already been mentioned, part of the station has already gone, the trees have gone so what are they looking to save?

They go on about democracy, yes it is called elections and allowing them to govern on your behalf, whether it be a few thousand tree huggin nut cases or paranoid loons fearful of Google's Treet View any action taken on their behalf that effects the majority isn't democracy, they do not speak for the nation.
22:33 October 27, 2010 by metrobloggen.se/Magleva
A cheap mini-MAGLEV is described in http://metrobloggen.se/Magleva

Ultralight, so is cheaply put up on PILLARs, above streets and nature.

As a Taxi-cab in size, it is "PRT", P-ersonal for you/family as www.Vectus.se,

R-apid:starts when you enter any of 1000:nds of small stations, as busstops.

T-ransit: runs nonstop directly to selected goalstation, no stops on way.

Runs protected in 1.5m tube, but air evacuated, so NO AIR resistance,

CO2, pollution, noise/particles. Faster than airPLANE. Energy consumtion

only 1% of usual train, as is ticket cost. More efficient than pipeline, so can

move WATER from Sweden/flood to dry south EU-countries, as large river.

Saves climate/environment/time/health... enormous value GNP/3.

Steel wheels on rail is half a century older than Edisons fonograph-cylinder,

and equally obsolete. Stop Stuttgart 21.

Lars Hornfeldt, physicist, Sweden. lhr(a)mbox.su.se
04:01 October 28, 2010 by Random77
There are lots of good points to demonstrate against. its not that they want to build a new mainstation and crash the old one. its that the old one had 15 tracks, and the new one should run with only 4. its that they want to spend 5 milliarden euros into a station that will be only capable to do what the old one allready does. if they would go and build mort tracks. the capacy would be higher then the one of the old station. they dont do that. it is because stuttgart is build on a highly sensetive gruond. people living there have to fear that their houses will dissapear just any minute like the 'stadtarchiv' (city archive) in cologne. imagine you cant go to sleep because 20 meters under your bed are people building tunnels and you just dont know if they will break or not. even if, then for the next 60 years you will hear every train a day. and last but not least, if german police force attacs children, students, mothers with children, seniors, and randomly the area in front of them with pepperspray so that 400 demonstrants get injurys and then they say they just reacted, with 5, yes i write it out: FIVE injured policmen... i dont know where that leads. so this whole protesting IS NOT ABOUT A FEW TREES OR THE OLD STATION BUILDING. IT IS ABOUT THE WHOLE CITY, THE 'GROUNDWATER' , THE MINERALSPRINS (next will be found in istambul), ITS ABOUT NOT GETTING MORE BUT PAYING E FOR IT, IT IS ABOUT THE CONSTRUCTION WORK IS DONE BY THE FAMILY OF THE POLITICANS. and this still are only a few reasons...
Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd