nuclear waste transport protests in germany: ‘we shall be in the way’

by Ella Seebacher

‘Castor kommt. Du auch?’ (Castor is coming. You too?) has been the uniting chant since April 1995, when the first cross country transport of radioactive waste from France has brought the rural farming village Gorleben in the region of Wendland in Lower Saxony in the north-east of Germany to controversial fame. It triggered an overwhelming movement of protest, such as Germany has not seen since the student revolution around Rudi Dutschke in the 1960s. Typically, the corporate newspapers had a field day with pointing out the millions of Deutschmarks the immense police operation to stop the ‘Atomchaoten’ (nuclear rioters) would cost the taxpayer and were quick to blame ‘den schwarzen Block’, the anarchists. But no, far from it, the anti-nuclear protesters taking part were coming from all ways of life: the guy who runs a gardening service, the carpenter, the supermarket cashier, farmers, grandmothers, small town politicians sitting in the constituency of Lüchow-Dannenberg, teachers and pupils. Doctors and punks and indeed, a complete army of vicars from every village and small town around expressed their opposition loudly.

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