Positive Gorleben spin though police hurt more than 85 activists

Diet Simon (summarising Indymedia inputs) 23.11.2003 00:59 Themen: Atom
Opponents of nuclear waste transports to Gorleben/Germany report positively on their latest resistance, although they say police brutality injured more than 85 of their activists. The protesters’ umbrella organisation in Luechow-Dannenberg county, where the north German rural village of Gorleben lies, says 6,000 people took part in protest actions, more than double last year’s number. Authorities say about 13,000 police were assigned to the transport in the Wendland area alone and the local state government put their cost just in the area at 25 million euros.

The Castor train pulls into Dannenberg, endpoint of the rail journey. Here the Castors, each of which weighs 120 tonnes, are loaded onto heavy-duty, low-loader trucks for the final stretch into the Gorleben storage hall. The caskets reach a temperature of 300°C inside and 80°C outside. [More at http://www.seg-dannenberg.org].

radioactive waste arrived at the so-called interim storage depot at about 5.30 a.m. Wednesday morning after a train and truck journey that began at the La Hague plutonium factory in northwest France on Sunday evening.

A spokeswoman for the protesters’ first aid teams, Kerstin Rudek, says in a media release that indiscriminate police brutality, such as kicks with booted feet into faces and genitals, caused a long list of injuries including bone fractures, torn ligaments, kidney contusions, dog bites, lacerations, sprains and bruises. 85 protesters were treated but carers suspect a much larger number of injured. The statement says police leader Niehörster needs to take disciplinary action against offending officers if he doesn't want the reputation that he encourages or at least condones such actions. Other activists spoke of police kicking and punching and two demonstrators having to be hospitalised with serious knee injuries. Spokesman Wolfgang Ehmke of the Luechow-Dannenberg Citizens Initiative for Environmental Protection (BI) said more than 2,000 protested Tuesday night at Dannenberg and Gorleben, and more than a thousand blockaded roads during the night by sitting down on them.


11 Nov, Grippel, 10.14 p.m. Grippel is about six km from Gorleben and is at the junction of two possible routes for Castor transports. People were on the roads since the previous afternoon and police stopped no one. There was music and food. Some slept on the road, some danced, ate, sat.

Grippel 00.29 am. Police were present but did nothing other than to regulate traffic and make light for the demonstrators.

Grippel 1:19 am About 1 am the police presence becomes markedly stronger. Police come through private properties on both sides of the road. Water cannon trucks are brought into position on both sides of the road, police encircle the people on the road. A voice out of one of the water cannon trucks tells the crowd that they have been collectively placed under arrest. There was no third call to clear the road, which is the normal legal requirement. The reason given for the omission was that it had to be assumed that criminal acts could be perpetrated from out of the crowd. The person who took these pictures says the assessment was completely wrong because there were no signs whatsoever that anything of the sort was planned and did not happen.

Grippel 1:29 The first rows of the crowd under plastic sheeting to protect against the water cannon should they be used. The temperature is below freezing.

Grippel, 02:07 am. Police indiscriminately snatch a small number of individuals out of the crowd and lead them away - the photographer saw three such cases. After a while the police leader at the scene demands that demonstrators clear the road and to go to a pasture paddock at the roadside, surrounded by police. No one obeys. Astonishingly, the police leader sometimes cites an assembly law, sometimes an assembly ban, which was being breached. It has to be noted, though, that the entire crowd has already been declared under arrest. And people under arrest don’t actually "assemble" any more. Whatever the case may be, the leader keeps referring to an "assembly".

Grippel 2:50 am Police are massively reinforced. Three calls to clear the road follow. But the assembly has still not been dispersed by the police leader, nor was it in the end.

Grippel 3:25 am Removal of people begins. Within less than an hour an estimated 500 to 900 people were taken like this into the police circle in the paddock. Because of the concentrated media presence, this happens very humanely in most cases. But neither was it exceptional, when no cameras were near, for arms and heads to be twisted, fingers pushed into noses, people’s mouths and noses held closed and arms and hands being twisted when people were transported away. The photographer regrets not having been able to capture pictures of such occurrences because they happened when the camera was not ready before four policemen carried him away and dropped him three times, allegedly because they felt weak. "We were held in the police circle until the transport was in Gorleben at about 6.10 am. Four water cannon were aimed at the circle and force was threatened against anyone who tried to break out of it. The drive home was as usual an unjust affair. The many police convoys either parked at the side of the road, which made it hard to get through, or at every red light switched on their blue lights, only to switch them off again the moment they had crossed. A cheeky case of abusing special rights against which one can probably unfortunately do nothing. More pictures, or these in better quality, at the website.e-Mail:: frank@eichi.de ¦ Homepage:: http://www-public.tu-bs.de:8080/~y0013807/tmp/grippel03/ ."

Speaking for a farmers’ protest organisation, Carsten Niemann said police in large measure had worked for de-escalation. Given that 200 farmers had taken part with their tractors, there could be no talk of the resistance crumbling, he said. Lawyer Ulrike Donat criticised the confiscation by police of 50 tractors and a field, as well as the imposition of a night curfew on the village of Laase.

At places along the Castor train’s trip through France and Germany, activists held it up by chaining themselves to or sitting on tracks until police removed them. A road close to Gorleben was made impassable for a while by undermining it with water. Other rail traffic was also briefly delayed by protest actions in passenger stations. Elsewhere burning tires were placed on tracks. Activists claim that the Castor train ploughed through a collection of open umbrellas at full speed although there could have been people huddling under them and the authorities had been alerted to the obstruction. Authorities say about 13,000 police were assigned to the transport in the Wendland area alone and the local state government put their cost just in the area at 25 million euros.

This was the seventh transport of Castor containers, each of which weighs 120 tonnes, to the Gorleben compound, bringing the number in it to 44. For the next 10 years 12 to 18 Castor containers a year are to go to Gorleben, "which means state of emergency here twice a year," says a spokesperson. From 2005 waste will also come to Gorleben from the British recycling plant at Sellafield north-west England, whose effluents are polluting the Irish Sea. La Hague, from where most of the German power plant waste now in Gorleben has returned, is also a danger to its environment, including a concentration of leukaemia around the state-controlled plutonium factory, confirmed by a government report. Gorleben is also the site of a mine driven into a salt deposit to explore its suitability as a final storage dump for the highly active nuclear waste. The salt has contact with ground water and opponents fear that every new shipment into Gorleben further firms the mine’s role as final dump despite the danger of water and other contamination.

Spokesman Ehmke emphasised the "great influx of young people" to the protests and said the resistance against the rhetoric of the government about abandoning nuclear power was growing. He called for the government to finally declare officially why the Gorleben salt deposit is unsuitable as a final nuclear dump. The opponents claim that the conservative Lower Saxony state government is keen to keep Gorleben as the main option, although exploratory mining has been stopped. The opponents say the electricity companies are arguing that with 1.4 billion euros already spent on it, the exploration should continue. "That makes the question why Environment Minister Trittin hasn’t got the courage to abandon a salt deposit in contact with ground water all the more urgent," says the civic action group. Another activist spokesman, Jochen Stay, said deliveries to Gorleben couldn’t be stopped, but protests would increase pressure against final dumping there. He said the consensus between the government and industry to end nuclear power production within 30 years doesn’t solve the final storing problem. The leader of The Greens in the Lower Saxony parliament, Rebecca Harms, who hails from the county, said enormous enthusiasm was still going into organising the protest and the police approach to try to contain it by large numbers was failing. She demanded that the wrong 1977 decision to name the Gorleben salt deposit as the final dump be rescinded at last.

More statements, reports and pictures on the November 2003 Castor transport to Gorleben:

At least 85 injured in Gorleben protests
"Impatience and resistance are growing"
Poorly trained police were violent
Civic rights breached again
Whole village declared under arrest
Just Wendland police cost "25 million" euros
Police-run propaganda radio
Border police arm up
Transport chronology
Gorleben: Catching up.....
"East coast Australians don't really care"
Audio of above interview with pro-Aboriginal campaigner
Aborigines join Gorleben protest
More pictures and words from the opening demo
Eerie trip in the dark
Five hours for 30 k's
The night chase begins
Robin Wood take pithead tower
Rallye Monte Göhrde
Riding rough-shod, fuses blown
Civilian riders enjoying the autumnal woods
Castor train sped through open umbrellas
2500 demonstrated in Lüneburg
Pictures of protests in Lüneburg
Pictures from southwest Germany
A "No Castor!" game online


Protest against nuclear dump near Ulm
Atomic waste to south Italy
Anti nuclear dump blockades in southern Italy
Protests stop Italian nuclear dump
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