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Germany

Anti-nuclear protesters call Germany 'nuclear toilet'

Demonstrators have gathered in the north-eastern German town of Greifswald to protest against the government's nuclear policy ahead of another transport of nuclear waste from German and French research facilities.

Placards of protesters

The transport is headed for the facility in Lubmin

Around 2,000 demonstrators gathered in the German town of Greifswald on Saturday ahead of next week's planned nuclear-waste transport to the nearby storage facility in Lubmin.

The protesters waved placards, chanted in unison and banged drums. They warned against Germany becoming a "nuclear toilet" or dumping ground for atomic waste.

Protesters in Greifswald

Police said the demonstration was peaceful

Local bishop Hans-Juergen Abromeit told the crowd the storage of the waste was a breach of promise. He claimed that in the past year the interim storage facility promised it would only accept atomic waste from former East German nuclear power plants. The bishop said that the issue was shaking the credibility of politics.

The waste due to arrive next week comes from a facility in the southern German city of Karlsruhe and from the research vessel "Otto Hahn."

Speaking to protesters from the local area as well as from Berlin and Lower Saxony, Abromeit demanded a more responsible energy policy from the government.

The bishop warned that the responsibility for nuclear policy should not be given over to market forces. He said it was impossible to be proud whilst Germany's association with nuclear waste continues.

"[The waste] poses a massive threat to people, animals and the environment for hundreds of thousands of years," Abromeit said.

Further protests planned

The nuclear waste transport is due to set off from the southern French research center Cadarache at the start of next week and should arrive in the German facility in Lubmin a few days later.

Police estimated that only around 850 people had come along to the peaceful demonstration, but the protesters themselves said the number was much higher - between 2,000 and 2,500 people. Among those present was the state premier of Mecklenburg-Pomerania Erwin Sellering.

Protesters have said they are planning to stage vigils, sit-ins and other protest actions over the coming days.

Author: Joanna Impey (AFP, dpa, epd)
Editor: Ben Knight

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