Swiss protest nuclear power

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A demonstration in northern Switzerland against nuclear power drew thousands of people on Sunday ahead of a government decision on the future of atomic energy in the country.

Protesters from Germany, Austria and France joined the marchers near the town of Doettingen and the Beznau nuclear power plant, Switzerland's oldest, an organiser said.

"It's the biggest demonstration in Switzerland against nucler power since the Fukushima accident (in Japan)," spokeswoman for "Sortons du nuclaire" Maude Poirier told AFP. "These thousands of people who have come are sending a strong signal to the Swiss authorities.

"This shows that we are not a minority, that it's not only the Greens" calling for an end to nuclear power, she said.

The Swiss government is set to decide Wednesday whether to mothball the country's five nuclear power plants.

After the March 11 quake and tsunami in Japan triggered the world's worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl 25 years ago at Fukishima, Switzerland was the first country on March 14 to announce that it had suspended plans to replace its ageing nuclear power plants.

© 2011 AFP

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