German police evict protestors in station siege

16th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Opponents of a major rail scheme in the German city of Stuttgart on Saturday barricaded themselves into a part of city's station slated for demolition before being evicted, police said.

The confrontation came after 18,000 people protested peacefully against a contentious seven-billion-euro (9.6-billion-dollar) modernisation project of southern Germany's railway system, which critics say is wasteful and poorly conceived.

Around 60 people forced their way into the station's southern wing, and a policeman suffered a minor injury when he was kicked by a protestor during the eviction, a police spokesman said.

Several hundred people also gathered outside the station, and some protestors blocked an unmarked police car and rocked it from side to side.

Around 300 police were deployed to the station area, the spokesman said.

The partial destruction of Stuttgart's interwar station and the felling of hundreds of trees in the city centre have proved particularly unpopular, and could have serious ramifications for the ruling Christian Democratic Union in regional elections in March.

Authorities were heavily criticised for their handling of a protest last month which saw riot police use water cannon, tear gas and batons to disperse protestors.

© 2010 AFP

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