• Germany's news in English

Huge anti-nuclear protests hit the streets

The Local · 26 Mar 2011, 22:56

Published: 26 Mar 2011 15:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Mar 2011 22:56 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

One of the organisers Ausgestrahlt said 250,000 people took part in demonstrations in four major cities marching under the banner "Fukushima Means: No More Nuclear Power Stations."

Marches took place in Hamburg, Cologne, Munich and the capital Berlin ahead of the vote in wealthy Baden-Württemberg state on Sunday at which nuclear energy is set to be a key issue.

Police said more than 100,000 took part in Berlin alone. Organisers claimed 20,000 more.

In a rainy Munich, police spoke of 30,000 participants, while organisers said there were 40,000. The marches in Hamburg and Cologne attracted 50,000 and 40,000 respectively, organisers said.

Hailing the protests as "Germany's biggest ever demonstration against nuclear power," Ausgestrahlt said, "the government's answer must be to turn the reactors off."

Curd Knuefer, 26, a Berlin student, said that in a context where majority public opinion had long been hostile to nuclear energy the Fukushima accident had been a wake-up call.

"We need to learn the lessons of Japan: nothing is impossible," said one placard.

"Today's demonstrations are just the prelude to a new, strong anti-nuclear movement. We're not going to let up until the plants are finally mothballed," said Jochen Stay, an Ausgestrahlt spokesman.

Merkel decided on March 14, in light of the nuclear crisis in Japan, to observe a three-month moratorium on extending the lifetimes of Germany's 17 reactors and to shut off the oldest seven temporarily, pending safety checks.

Voters believed she was merely electioneering, despite her protests to the contrary, and reported comments from the economy minister seemingly confirming this have added to Merkel's woes ahead of Sunday's must-win election.

Story continues below…

Her conservative Christian Democrats has braced for a tight result in the southwestern state they have held for 58 years.

Polls show the ecologist Greens, spurred by anti-nuclear sentiment in the country, could make history and garner enough votes with the opposition Social Democrats to govern with Germany's first-ever Green state premier.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

14:51 March 26, 2011 by Major B
Germans will practice their democratic right to protest and it is a good thing. I personally think nuclear power is a good alternative, especially in technologically advanced countries that can improve on its safety. But the real point is that since the adoption of democracy in Western Germany and more recently in Eastern Germany, the people can demonstrate their disatisfaction with government policy.

Not so in China. Now, truthfully, it appears it is not so in Russia. Certainly it is not so in Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, ect., ........

Yet, Germany votes to abstain from the vote to protect the Libyan people from THEIR "madman", having suffered so horrendously from the same decisions of a similar madman. GGermany, whose population is vociferously anti-military because of the results their madman wrought, votes to support the likes of China and Russia. China, with it's Tianamen Square disgrace and who today illegally occupies Tibet and suppresses its people. Russian, whose brutality in Chechenya parralled the worse excesses of WWII and more recently defied Europe and severed idyllic Georgia in a disgraceful military campaign in THIS century!!!

Yes, Germany, your people have the right to protest and you will let them, as long as it is peaceful. But I guess your business interests are more important than honesty and integrity and you support China and Russia.

So much for your feeble protests over Europeans doing the right thing and supporting an oppressed people in North Africa.
15:10 March 26, 2011 by red7
Halt den Mund! you cannot get enough with your war in libya.
15:17 March 26, 2011 by derExDeutsche
DOn't bother posting red7 .

You're speaking to the Voice behind the curtain. the voice of MOST because he IS most of the commenters here at theLoco.de

Got to Lybia, Troll !
15:22 March 26, 2011 by red7
are you not the troll here? you put all over your comments about your love of war in libya in the whole pages of Local.Go to libya idiot!
15:39 March 26, 2011 by derExDeutsche
My love of War in Libya?

I think you've got the wrong person. on theLoco.de

I am anti-Libyan war.
16:01 March 26, 2011 by Chicago1996
With regards to post #1. There is a saying: The borrower is slave to the lender. In this case, while the US (et al) goes crusading around the world, to randomly rid it of tyrants, the Chinese are systematically buying up every square inch of the US economy that it can get it's hands on. Simplistically said, it is the Chinese that are keeping the economy sort of afloat and giving posters on this Forum the illusion that they can "afford" to do this or do that.

I think the US stretched itself too thin over the years, and it needs to start internalizing more. While it has been focusing it's efforts on fighting wars, the home front has been suffering- a lot. Drug wars along border States, a housing and financial collapse, a brewing student loans bubble collapse, high unemployment and poverty, lack of funding for education / police / fire departments, astronomical medical costs, and the list goes on and on.
16:04 March 26, 2011 by yhsanjay
Nuclear Power: when the going is good all is good.Nuclear power is OK.

when the going gets bad it hits speedbreakers. Its dangerous. Its life threatening not only for the present but for future generations too! Nuclear power is the worst thing on land and will be under severe criticism by one and all!
22:42 March 26, 2011 by krautrock
50,000 people in Berlin make a big demonstration, not a huge one.
10:48 March 27, 2011 by tallady
Merkel is no different than the rest of the world politicians voting to the poll of public opinion,few were duped in her flip flop,however.

Nuclear power is going to be very difficult to replace.

If Germany closes more plants then more power will be purchased from outside the country and if the power is generated by reactors Germany will be strongly criticized.

I would like to see the Governments plan of replacement power, wind and solar are not yet up to the task.

What caused the destruction of the reactors in Japan is highly unlikely here.It does show ,however how catastrophic this power can become in the event of a natural or man made disaster even in a country that has prided itself on safety It can happen.
11:40 March 27, 2011 by toemag
@ tallady +1 on all counts ;-)
13:57 March 27, 2011 by michael4096
It is not really relevant that such an accident is unlikely in Germany. Even if such an accident happened with the same results, nuclear power still leads all other traditional forms of power generation in casualties. In a good year, coal mining kills many tens of people, fighting over oil many hundreds, building gas pipelines and the suppression local resistance many tens...

The accident in Japan was terrible and the industry will certainly learn many lessons to make nuclear power safer. However, the toll to date is still far, far lower than, for example, that sustained every year by normal people caused by ozone depletion from fossil fuels burnt in power stations.
14:20 March 27, 2011 by Zobirdie

A voice of reason on the Local! WHO KNEW IT WAS POSSIBLE! ;)

I think you summed up exactly how I feel about this! :)

Yes, people can turn of the reactors...and replace them with...what? The infrastructure isnt there yet. When the price of power goes through the roof, what then... And I do believe it is next to impossible (though I could be wrong!) for Germany to be hit by a 30 foot tidal wave. :D

(tho Berlin would be more scenic with a sea view as opposed to a Spree view!)
15:13 March 27, 2011 by nolibs
Merkel's flip-flop was very ill advised, but I'm surprised that anyone would consider voting for the SPD, let alone the Greens.

Memories must be really short to forget how the SPD practically ran Germany into the ground. No one remembers the unemployment rate of 11%? Not enough for you? How about the inquiry into whether Gerhard Schröder deliberately misled MPs and voters by failing to reveal the true state of Germany's public finances before the general election?

Let's not forget how Schröder sold out German energy interests with a controversial pipeline deal with Russia, just two weeks before leaving office. They he was rewarded with a plum job in Russia to work with that pipeline afterwards. I will note that the Greens opposed his taking of the job, but they were in a coalition with him and guilt by association is in effect.
17:21 March 27, 2011 by Eastard
People want to feel safe and the Japanese nuclear disaster has and should have everyone upset. TEPCO has knowingly mismanaged the creation and operation of a very dangerous material. They built six of them together without concern for the possibility of loosing control of even one of the reactors.. They were warned by many countries (see Wikileaks) many times and simply did not choose to take the "possibility" risk seriously. They live on the largest tectonic plate earthquake zone in the world as well as amidst the bullseye for cyclones capable of 10 meter waves... There is absolutely no excuse for this disaster resulting in this nuclear disaster. TEPCO has bungled the operation and mitigation of this disaster and will parlay it into an international environmental disaster possibly worse than Chernobyl... Keep in mind that this site in Japan hold six large reactors sets with years of spent fuel... If contamination continues to rise the whole site will be off limits to people.. The sphere of damage will grow... Also keep in mind that a nuclear reactor loaded with fuel runs at 3% load with OFF... No water then melt down. Melt down produced very very bad materials.... times six... I wish the US military would take over from TEPCO mitigate at all cost... This event is not a nuclear failure as much as it is an indictment of how poorly equipped even the most sophisticated corporations are at managing risk versus profit... This event could have been prevented 100%... System can be implemented to truly fail safe...The US Gulf Oil spill was another corporation entrusted with providing failsafe systems that did not work and were know to not have worked...

A final shot over the bow... TEPCO should be held fully responsible for the design of their safety systems and conduct of mitigation performance.. I see evidence that they are already trying to say it was all nature's fault...

Did you know that Japan is split down the middle with incompatible power grids... East is 50Hz and West is 60Hz... This has helped TEPCO maintain their monopoly over Japan's industry... Unfortunately, the electrical generation excess of the West cannot do the East any good... Japan's industrial future is in major trouble...
11:57 March 29, 2011 by raandy
how it is that Germany has the confidence to go down an entirely non-nuclear route, even with the same 2050 objective of an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases. The difference between where we believe our electricity consumption will be by then ­ twice, even three times, present levels ­ and where the German government thinks electricity demand can be via a purposeful and consistent efficiency programme (25% below present levels) is so vast that it does beg one obvious question.

And that is, naturally, why have the Germans got it all so economically wrong yet again?
12:22 March 29, 2011 by storymann
@raandy Europe's larger urban areas have the potential to meet such reduced energy demand from the renewable energy-generating potential of their land and buildings. Metropolitan energy self-sufficiency is conceivable and achievable, with all the benefits for energy security, stable energy prices and competitiveness that this could bring. Energy saving can fund the required renewable energy investment. We could have a decarbonised urban Europe in 20 to 30 years and greenhouse gas emissions would not then be an issue. A major European project is coming to its conclusion shortly and the evidence will be made public.
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

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
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