50,000 demonstrated in Berlin against nuclear power

Foto: Andreas Conradt / PubliXviewinG

Around 50,000 people demonstrated against nuclear power in Berlin on Saturday as a poll projected the pro-nuclear conservatives of Chancellor Angela Merkel convincingly winning an election on 27 September, although a majority of Germans want nuclear electricity production stopped.


A highlight of the powerful protest on a rainy day in the downtown area of the capital were more than 350 farm tractors rumbling through, some of which had been driven in convoy hundreds of kilometres around nuclear dump sites in northern Germany.

At one location, Morsleben, they were savagely attacked by police without cause and the police minister has apologised.

Most had set out from Gorleben (about 150 linear km west of Berlin), one of the nation's most notorious nuclear waste dumps, where spent fuel is now stored in a hall and where a brine-leaking pit dug in a salt deposit is planned as permanent repository.

A statement from the organisers said the demonstration sent the clear signal that the time for waiting for an end to nuclear power is over. After the failure of several nuclear dumps and power stations people were simply fed up with talk about extending the operating periods of nuclear power plants.

“Today we experienced a closing of ranks between decades of resistance put up by civic initiatives, at nuclear locations, the strengthened clean energy industries, trade unions struggling for socially compatible jobs and churches campaigning for the preservation of creation. No government should believe it can hold on to atomic energy against this clear majority of the population,” the statement says.

“This resistance has reached a totally new quality in its breadth across society. Atomic energy is politically dead.”

The tractors, mostly from Gorleben but also from other parts of north Germany and from near Berlin, had lined up around mid-day from the Brandenburg Gate to the Victory Column. Many trailers had themed messages on them.  The 8-km (5-mile)-long convey passed in front of Merkel's offices and through the government quarter to the historic Brandenburg Gate.

The demo was organised by an alliance of environmental and anti-nuclear groups, clean energy organisations, trade unions and churches.

A writer on IndyMedia Germany said “mainstream media reported only slowly, reluctantly, simplistically,  tendentiously and in part so naively it makes your hair stand on end” but whether they liked it or not, the demonstration could not be overlooked.

Noting that it was the biggest anti-nuclear demonstration for more than ten years, this IMC poster wrote:  “The anti-atomic movement is alive and perhaps also the starting point for other themes from below that we have to and want to put on the agenda again. A lot has come together here that people thought no longer existed.”

Demonstrators also came from France, Poland, Denmark and Austria.  People came by buses, trains and bicycles.

The parade, starting from the central railway station and ending in the landmark Brandenburg Gate, was led by the tractors and jammed the streets for several hours.  The convoy was followed by waves of colourful protesters waving flags and blowing whistles, holding high banners like "shut down nuclear reactors", “nuclear, no" and shouting similar slogans.  "A vote for Merkel is a vote for nuclear," read a banner.

Crowds of well-wishers waved at the convoy of tractors, some of which pulled wagons filled with demonstrators or fake barrels of radioactive waste.

"We won't tolerate any backtracking on the nuclear exit," Fritz Pothmer, a northern German farmer, said to cheers. "It's nuclear insanity. How could Merkel become such a tool of the nuclear lobby?"

"I hope this wakes people up," said Laila Sack, a 21-year-old archaeology student at the rally.  “Nuclear used to be a hot issue but it's gone quiet. I think that will change once more people realise what Merkel and the FDP want to do."

"We want to make sure that even after the election it remains clear that we can't continue to rely on nuclear energy, no matter which parties are in government," said Thomas Auer, of the Robin Wood environmental group that helped organise the protest.

“The end of nuclearisation has been promised since a long time but up until now nothing has been done," said Jochen Stay, a spokesman for the march organisers.

"We hope this will bring some colour into the campaign," said Wolfgang Ehmke, from Gorleben, one of the organisers.

The future of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants, due to be shut down by 2021 under an agreement struck in 2001 between the power companies and the previous government of Social Democrats (SPD) and environmentalist Greens, is one of the major issues separating Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) from the Social Democrats with whom they have shared power in a fractious coalition both parties want to end.

The CDU, along with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP, now in opposition), want to extend the deadline, a move opposed by the SPD and the Greens.  Polls predict a new government of CDU and FDP to emerge from the election three weeks from now.

SPD chancellor candidate, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, now foreign minister, on Friday went so far as to accuse the CDU and FDP "of leading the country into an energy policy dead-end and endangering domestic security." Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, also a Social Democrat, said Merkel's conservatives should "stop being the right arm of the nuclear industry," adding that "the future belongs to renewable energies”.

The SPD and Greens (now in opposition) argue that polls show 59 percent of Germans opposing nuclear energy and wanting the plants shut down, while the CDU and FDP emphasise that until Germany has built up a significant infrastructure of alternative energies, nuclear power plants should remain on line.

Merkel looked to be closing in on victory after a poll Friday pointed to a robust majority for a coalition between her conservatives and the FDP liberals. The survey for public broadcaster ZDF showed them flying high with 52 percent support together.

Germany produces about 23 percent of its energy supply with nuclear power, 42 percent with coal-burning stations, 14 percent with natural gas and 15 percent with renewables such as wind, solar and thermal.

The government plans to shut down the nuclear plants by 2021, but protesters say they should close sooner and want to ensure the future government does not overturn that decision.




Slide show: http://www.wendland-net.de/pxv.php


(These pictures are offered for publication free of charge by Andreas Conradt. For copyright reference please cite the data indicated in the IPTC.

Drop copy requested.)








Press contacts at the demo:

Peter Dickel, 0531-895601, Jochen Stay, 0170-9358759, Jana Wiegreffe 0151-52562194, Wolfgang Ehmke  0170-5105606, Rüdiger Rosenthal 0171-8311051, Thomas Erbe 0175-1582329

Zeige Kommentare: ausgeklappt | moderiert

Presseerklärung 6.09.09
"Wir schreiben Anti-Atom- Ausstiegsgeschichte!" -  Eindrucksvolle Demo und Kundgebung in Berlin
BI Umweltschutz zieht positive Bilanz /Schlusserklärung der BI Umweltschutz

Mit einer eindrucksvollen Demonstration und Kundgebung am Samstag in Berlin sorgte das Bündnis von Anti-AKW-Initiativen und Umweltverbänden für eine Sensation.  Über 50.000 Menschen schlossen sich dem Aufruf von Anti-AKW-Initiativen und Umweltverbänden an, für den Atomausstieg, den massiven Ausbau der Erneuerbaren Energien und die Aufgabe des Schwarzbaus Gorleben als Atommüllendlager zu demonstrieren.

50 Traktoren und Themenwagen der Bäuerlichen Notgemeinschaft aus dem Wendland führten die  die Demo an, die um 13 Uhr am Hauptbahnhof startete und zum Brandenburger Tor führte, voran marschierte und tanzte der "Wendlandblock" zum Groove des Musikalischen Mehrkampfwagens, den die Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz (BI) Lüchow-Dannenberg bei jedem Castortransport einsetzt. Rund  2000 Lüchow-Dannenberg waren per Sonderzug
und mit Bussen  in die Hauptstadt gekommen, dort säumten die Protest-Trecker der Notgemeinschaft die Straße des 17. Juni fast bis zur Siegessäule.

Fritz Pothmer, dessen Vater vor 30 Jahren auf der Abschlusskundgebung des legendären Gorleben-Trecks nach Hannover sprach für die 400 Bäuerinnen und Bauern, die mit nach Berlin getreckt waren. "Es gibt viele Familien wie meine, die schon seit mehr als dreißig Jahre kämpfen. Sie können ihre Häuser, ihre Höfe, ihr Land und ihr Vieh nicht einfach einpacken und mitnehmen, wenn es zum Ernstfall kommt. Die gewissenlosen Politiker und Lobbyisten kümmert das wenig an." Die 30 Jahre Auseinandersetzung hätten nicht zur Resignation geführt, sondern die Anti-Atom-Bewegung nur gestärkt. In Anspielung auf den Parteienstreit um die Atomkraft ergänzte Pothmer: "Wir stehen heute hier stellvertretend für zwei Drittel der Bevölkerung, die den Ausstieg wollen die den Ausstieg wollen. Wie können so genannte Volksvertreter ihren Job so falsch interpretieren!?"

Die BI zieht nach dem Wochentreck und der Abschlussveranstaltung in Berlin eine positive Bilanz: "Wir schreiben Geschichte, Anti-Atom-Geschichte! Wer glaubt hat, dass mit dem Thema Energiepolitik und Atom niemand mehr hinter dem Ofen hervorzulocken ist, der wurde heute eines Besseren belehrt." Das politische Konzept, als außerparlamentarische Kraft im Schulterschluss mit Umweltinitiativen dafür zu sorgen, dass sich die politischen Parteien zum Thema Atomausstieg, zu Gorleben und für den massiven Ausbau der Erneuerbaren Energien positionieren, sei voll aufgegangen.

"Vielen Menschen wird  klar, die Atomkraft behindert den forcierten Ausbau der Erneuerbaren Energien. Und die Katastrophenmeldungen aus der Asse und Morsleben graben sich ins Gedächtnis ein, es gibt weltweit kein sicheres Endlager. Die Wahrheit zu Gorleben setzt sich nach 30 Jahren beharrlicher Arbeit der Umweltbewegung endlich durch, dieser Standort ist geologisch unmöglich und politisch verbrannt. Reaktorrisiko plus Entsorgungslüge gleich
Sofortausstieg", bringt es BI-Sprecher Wolfgang Ehmke auf eine kurze Formel.

Es sei zwar klasse, dass sich SPD, Grüne und Linke zum Atomausstieg und Gorleben positionieren. "Doch nach der Wahl ist vor der Wahl, wir messen die Politiker nicht an ihren Wahlversprechen, sondern an ihren Taten. Egal, welche Partei am 27. September die Wahl gewinnt, mit uns als außerparlamentarischer Kraft muss man rechnen. Wir werden keine faulen Atomkompromisse hinnehmen, wir fordern den sofortigen Rückbau des Bergwerks in Gorleben."

Wolfgang Ehmke 0170 510 5606

Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow - Dannenberg e.V.
Rosenstr. 20  29439 Lüchow
Büro: Tel: 05841-4684  Fax: -3197