Hundreds hurt during German nuclear train demos: police

29th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

More than 100 police officers and over 300 demonstrators were injured in Germany during days of clashes over a shipment of radioactive waste from France, according to figures provided Tuesday.

Police said 133 of the more than 20,000 officers deployed along the German leg of the 1,200-kilometre (750-mile) route were hurt protecting the convoy of nuclear waste repatriated from a reprocessing centre in northwestern France.

The 11 containers of spent fuel rods arrived late Monday after a five-day odyssey from France that was heavily delayed by protesters' stunts. Many chained themselves to the track and some leapt on trucks carrying the waste.

Anti-nuclear activists said 355 protesters were injured, five seriously, during the protests, mostly from tear gas or police baton attacks, although some had reportedly been bitten by police dogs.

Authorities did not give the operation's total cost, but Uwe Schuenemann, interior minister for the Lower Saxony region, where the Gorleben storage site is situated, said some 33.5 million euros ($44.7 million) had been budgeted.

Protests against the convoy were "basically peaceful," Schuenemann said, who added nonetheless that 450 left-wing "anarchists" had "come from all over Germany to fight with the police."

In total, the 25,000 protesters managed to hold up the convoy by a record 126 hours.

The protesters argue that the shipment by train of spent fuel rods is hazardous and note that Germany, like the rest of Europe, has no permanent storage site for the waste, which will remain dangerous for thousands of years.

They are also angry that a pledged German phase-out of nuclear power, hastily agreed this year in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, will take another decade to implement.

© 2011 AFP

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