Germany: Nuclear train protested


More than 50,000 German anti-nuclear protesters defied 17,000 police over the weekend of November 6 and 7and blockaded a train carrying spent nuclear fuel rods from France to Germany.

On November 8, the fuel rods finally reached the small north German village of Dannenberg. From there, they were trucked a further 20 kilometres to an interim nuclear storage facility in the town of Gorleben.

Anti-nuclear activists drove more than 600 tractors, blockading roads and the railway in the largest ever demonstration over the transportation of spent nuclear fuel rods in Germany.

The nuclear train was stopped for several hours as local residents, unions, politicians, environmental groups, football clubs, farmers and protesters from across Germany occupied the railway tracks.

Leaders of Germany's opposition parties the Greens and the far-left Die Linke (Left Party) attended the protest. Die Linke parliamentary leader Gregor Gysi even drove one of the blockading tractors.

Germany has a long history of public opposition to nuclear power, dating back to the 1970s. But public outrage has increased recently, after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to extend the lifespan of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants by an average of 12 years each, while delaying spending on renewable energy.