German police clear nuclear waste train protest

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German police remove anti-nuclear waste protester from train tracks in Harlingen - 27 November 2011
Image caption,
Many of the protesters had tethered themselves to the rail tracks

Police in Germany say they have cleared thousands of protesters who were trying to block a trainload of nuclear waste.

Protesters had blocked the tracks near the site in northern Germany where the spent nuclear fuel is to be stored.

The 150 tonnes of uranium, originally from German nuclear plants, is being moved in 11 containers from Normandy, France, where it was reprocessed.

It is the last of 12 such shipments from France because of a German move away from nuclear power.

Reports said 1,300 people had been detained following the clearing of the protest.

Riot police

About 20,000 police have been deployed along the German route of the train.

When the train started out from north-western France on Wednesday, riot police were used to remove protesters who tried to block tracks.

Twelve arrests were made in the violent clashes which erupted.

Other protests have also slowed the train's progress but have been largely peaceful.

Anti-nuclear activists have said it was too dangerous to move the nuclear waste 1,200km (750 miles) from the Areva reprocessing plant at La Hague to its final destination of Gorleben.

Areva has denied that transportation of the waste poses a risk to the environment.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said this year that all of her country's nuclear plants would be shut down by 2022.