(eng) Resistance To Nuclear Waste Transportation In Germany

Arm The Spirit (ats@etext.org)
Mon, 13 May 1996 16:17:56 +0200

Violence As Nuclear Waste Train Reaches German Terminus

Dannenburg, Germany (Reuters - May 8, 1996) German anti-nuclear
activists lit fires and hurled stones at police on Wednesday in a
bid to prevent a shipment of nuclear waste reaching a storage
depot in northern Germany.
At least two people were injured and dozens were detained
when the violence broke out as the train carrying the waste from
France reached the rail terminus in Dannenburg.
From there the waste was due to be loaded onto a flatbed
truck for the short trip to the medium-term storage depot in
Gorleben, 120 km (75 miles) east of Hanover.
Police, out in force to ensure the radioactive cargo got
through, used tear gas, water cannons and batons to disperse
hundreds of protesters.
Activists had already clashed with police in the area on
Tuesday afternoon after trying to sabotage the railway tracks.
The waste, which crossed into Germany from France at midday
on Tuesday, had made its way through most of the country
practically unhindered.
The shipment eluded observers from the environmental group
Greenpeace who had staked out the world's largest nuclear
reprocessing plant in La Hague in northern France. They had hoped
to tip off their German counterparts.
Greenpeace demonstrators kept vigil along the tracks near
Gorleben during the night. Police helicopters circled overhead.
In one of Germany's biggest internal security operations,
about 15,000 police and border guards were deployed to protect
the waste as it moved north on a flatcar.
The train, with locomotives at each end, included four cars
carrying police and nuclear safety officials.
Despite the tight security, about 30 protesters managed to
halt the train briefly by sitting on the tracks near Darmstadt in
western Germany. They left peacefully at the request of police.
The train is the first of around 110 set to carry nuclear
waste and fuel back to German reactors over the next eight years.
Interior Minister Manfred Kanther instructed border guards
and railway police not to shy away from using force if needed to
prevent militants from vandalising rail lines.
In a statement, he also threatened protesters with the force
of the law, saying: "It is unbearable when howling, masked
rioters are not punished after leaving injured police officers at
the scene of a crime. This cannot be allowed."