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German Protesters Hope to Block
Train Carrying Nuclear Waste

By: Elizabeth Nelson

As recently reported by the Associated Press, in Dannenburg, Germany protesters against nuclear waste tried to stop a train delivering radioactive waste to Germany. Dannenburg is the end of the rail for the 60 ton convoy. Riot police used water cannons to break up the protesters. The protesters reacted by throwing stones at the officers, injuring one policeman.

The train carrying the radioactive waste was entering Northern Germany from France. Police were prepared for the protest. The last time a train carrying the waste entered Germany was in 1997 and was also met with protesters. During this protest, there were as many as 20,000 police on the scene.

The material was expected to be taken from the train to a Gorleben nuclear waste dump by flatbed trucks. The dump was 375 miles from the last railroad stop.

To hope to stop the train, protesters chained themselves to the train tracks. They believe that the material is very dangerous and hope that by causing a disruption in the travel, the government will be cost money and will eventually halt the transportation.

Later in the day, more and more protesters arrived in Dannenberg. They fired flares at officers and actually destroyed an officer's vehicle. Temperatures were just above freezing and as many as 4,000 protesters gathered around bonfires.

Another group of protesters gathered outside of Dannenberg. The eight activists were from Greenpeace; this group succeeded in stopping the train. They also chained themselves to the tracks. Greenpeace spokesman Stefan Schurig said their strategy was to chain themselves to the tracks in a complex mass of steel chains and heavy locks laced beneath the rails.

There was still another group protesting the waste train. This group consisted of four people about 16 miles from Dannenberg. They also attached themselves to the tracks.

17-year-old protester Jascha Luedeke from Hipzacker told the AP the protesters would "sleep in the open tonight and come back in the morning. The government has got to see how many people are against this."

The train detoured Goettingen, home of a University, hoping to avoid some additional protesters. Hundreds of people were on the tracks in Goettingen. Many protesters were arrested along the way.