Sheep, trees - Protesters around German nuclear waste depot get creative to stop shipment
GORLEBEN, Germany - A shepherdess hoping to block the transport of nuclear waste to a storage site in northern Germany herded her flock of 500 sheep and some 60 goats Monday across a road leading to the site — just one of hundreds people hoping to stop the shipment from reaching its final destination Tuesday.
The shipment reached a railway depot in Dannenberg on Monday, where workers spent the day transferring containers of nuclear waste from the rails to trucks that are to carry it on the last leg of its journey to the site in Gorleben, 12 miles (20 kilometres) away. By nightfall, eight of 11 containers had been moved.
Greenpeace activists said they had succeeded in parking a semitrailer truck across the road just outside of the gates of the railway depot. Police said five activists had attached themselves to the truck in such a way as to prevent them from moving it without first detaching them.
An estimated 3,000 people had gathered at the road outside of the waste storage site in Gorleben and hundreds of others staged protests along the main road and two alternative routes leading to the site.
"I live from my sheep, it's my livelihood, and the storage site is threatening this," said the shepherdess, who gave her name only as Evelyn, because she did not want to be identified by authorities.She is one of hundreds of farmers in the region who fear their livelihoods could be threatened by the storage site at Gorleben.
After about an hour police cleared her flock, only to see the animals return further down the road.
Elsewhere along the route, protesters cut down trees and lined the road with stumps as part of an effort to promote renewable energy sources and show their anger at the German government decision to extend the life of the nation's nuclear power plants by several years.
"Our intention is the use of 100 per cent renewable energies for this region, no nuclear waste," said Andreas von Bernstorff, an activist and forest owner, who organized the protest on his land.
Dozens of farmers lined the roads with tractors, ready to drive them onto the road to block the transport.
Activists say neither the waste containers nor the Gorleben site, a temporary storage facility, are safe.