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Police clear anti-nuclear blockade overnight

The Local · 8 Nov 2010, 10:44

Published: 08 Nov 2010 08:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Nov 2010 10:44 GMT+01:00

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Police in Lower Saxony spent an exhausting night clearing some 3,000 activists blocking a train full of radioactive waste travelling from France to Germany. The last demonstrator was removed around 7 am on Monday, according to the authorities.

The train proceeded around 8:20 am after the route in the Wendland region was reopened for the the journey to a storage facility in Gorleben, which protesters say is unsuitable as a nuclear waste depot.

"The unloading station is surrounded by a high fence and so we do not think there will be major disturbances," a police spokesman said.

The 11 white containers must now be loaded onto lorries - which could take all day, reports said - for the final 20-kilometre (12-mile) stretch by road to the storage facility.

After police clashed with protestors earlier in the train’s journey on Sunday, the blockade by some 3,000 activists in the Wendland region was “absolutely peaceful,” a spokesman said, though there were reports of a few isolated clashes. Activists had either left the tracks of their own accord or were carried away by officers.

Citizens initiative x-tausendmal quer also said that the blockade had been marked by “appropriately peaceful” behaviour from police.

Authorities are currently holding some 1,500 anti-nuclear protestors, police said.

But officers are said to be exhausted after spending the night removing the activists beginning around 1:40 am.

Earlier on Sunday police turned tear gas, batons and water cannons on thousands of protestors occupying tracks near Lüneburg, while some activists lobbed fireworks, sticks and dirt clods at the officers. A police bulldozer was also reportedly set on fire.

Meanwhile Green party co-leader Claudia Roth defended the protests, telling daily Passauer Neue Presse on Monday that protestors had been provoked by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right government.

“[The coalition] ripped apart a societal consensus and with that provoked the people,” Roth said, referring to the government’s recent extension to the life of the country’s nuclear power plants.

This explained the widespread participation in protests against the nuclear waste transport, Roth told the paper, calling on activists to remain peaceful.

Story continues below…

Dubbed by activists as "the most radioactive ever" transport, the convoy that left France on Friday is the 11th of its kind. A previous nuclear waste shipment sent over in 2008 was blocked for 14 hours by protesters amid a violent standoff with police.

Around 16,000 police have been mobilised to deal with the protests in Germany.

Gorleben is a temporary storage site for the highly dangerous radioactive waste. Germany, in common with other European countries, has no permanent storage site.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:56 November 8, 2010 by Clapoti
Don't those people have jobs to go to :P
12:03 November 8, 2010 by beetlebum80
Yes they have. But unlike Americans sitting their asses flat in front of Fox News they actually care about what's going on in the world around them and take to the streets to express their opinion if necessary.
12:58 November 8, 2010 by Clapoti
Thank God I'm not American :P

Unfortunately they are taking the streets for something completely ridiculous IMO. This radioactive trash was created in Germany and then it went out of the country to be treated in France and now they are trying to block it from entering the country... it's their trash they should deal with that.

Instead of doing this, they should try to block uranium from entering the country in the first place.

And instead of doing some propaganda about some expensive, ugly and not very efficient wind turbine, they should put some effort into refining the whole nuclear process like they are doing in other places. Maybe they could then close the coal power plants at one point.
18:01 November 8, 2010 by beetlebum80
1. I recommend you to read a bit about the reasons why Gorleben was picked as an "appropriate" site for terminal nuclear waste disposal. These reasons were not scientifically justified but of rather political nature.

2. The previous government had already agreed upon phasing out nuclear energy in this country. It was a law, and if a new government thinks it can just nullify laws because of corporate pressure, they shouldn't be surprised that some people are pissed.

I'm all with the demonstrators and I'm just happy to see that it becomes harder and harder (and especially more and more expensive) for the government to move the crap across the country.

And, on a related note, I do have a job. ;)
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