Anti-nuclear protesters clash with police in northern Germany

November 26th, 2011 - 9:18 pm ICT by BNO News  

BERLIN (BNO NEWS) — Anti-nuclear protesters clashed with police in Germany on Friday as a train carrying nuclear waste edged its way across the country, the dpa news agency reported on Saturday.

Protesters tried to stop the train on early Friday morning after it crossed the border into Germany from France. The so-called Castor transport, with a cargo of 11 tightly-sealed casks containing the hazardous material, was being shipped to temporary waste storage facilities in the northern German town of Gorleben.

About 20,000 police officers were deployed to oversee the train’s journey to the controversial storage site. Police had attempted to disperse demonstrators with water cannons and pepper spray, but protesters still managed to set two police cars on fire.

Around 800 to 1,000 demonstrators blocked a main street near the Gorleben facilities and pelted police with bottles, stones, eggs and paint bombs. Police moved to clear the street, leaving many protesters and eight police officers injured. Five protesters were arrested, police said.

“Police violence is not a legitimate means to suppress public protests against the illegal cargo,” said the anti-nuclear transport group Citizens’ Initiative in Luechow and Dannenberg - two towns near the Gorleben site. The protests in Germany followed violent clashes between police and demonstrators on the French side of the border, according to dpa.

The shipment is the last in a series of nuclear waste transports to be made from France to Germany. The waste was produced in Germany and treated at a nuclear reprocessing plant in northern France.

Germany previously decided to phase out nuclear energy by 2022 after an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan earlier this year. However, the German government has not yet found a permanent solution to storing nuclear waste.

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