Farmers Against Nuclear Power - (their own website in German)
never give up
There are many storks and their prey, frogs, in the Wendland area.
®Copyright by Bäuerliche Notgemeinschaft
Founded in 1977
The Bäuerliche Notgemeinschaft (Farmers Emergency Association against Nuclear Power) Lüchow-Dannenberg was started in 1977, when the then Premier of the state of Lower Saxony, Ernst Albrecht, designated Gorleben as the nations future nuclear dump, or nuclear lavatory.
This designation and the constant threat emanating from the nuclear sites located so close by has made many people reconsider the so-called "peaceful" use of atomic power generation. Resistance grew across all vocations and walks of life, including farmers.
The Bäuerliche Notgemeinschaft, a self-defensive activist group against the anticipated nuclear installations in Lüchow-Dannenberg county was born. At first activity was mainly focused on a planned waste re-processing plant. However, it soon became very evident that protests against the disposal of nuclear waste could not be the main thrust, but that it was of crucial importance to fight for a shut-down of the complete nuclear industry.
Even without the re-processing plant - which was ultimately abandoned - Gorleben is key to the nuclear industry as a storage location for low-level, intermediate level and high-level waste (inside Castor caskets), as well as the anticipated pilot conditioning plant and the planned permanent repository in the underground salt layers of Gorleben. All this makes our resistance most important.
Who are we?
We're an informal organisation of farmers in the rural county of Lüchow-Dannenberg, in the state of Lower Saxony, in northern Germany.
Our area is also called Wendland after the Wendish people who immigrated here two centuries ago and settled east of the Elbe River.
We first got together in 1977, when the peaceful Elbe village of Gorleben was designated as the future site of Germany's principal nuclear repository the nations atomic lavatory. We vowed to resist with all the means at our disposal this impending contamination of our area. Farmers from the neighbouring counties of Uelzen and Lüneburg joined us.
We have no statutes, steering committees, regulations or membership fees. In quiet times well have about 30 to 40 farmers turn up for meetings; but there are also hot times (just before an impending atomic waste shipment) when up to 300 farmers become active.
Sticker by the local farmers association. Bauer means farmer.
In the beginning, we opposed the establishment of a nuclear reprocessing plant. The plans of the operators were later expanded to include (1) temporary storage sheds for all levels of atomic waste (inside Castor transport flasks), (2) an experimental facility where the Castors are to be opened and their dangerously radioactive contents condensed and repacked for supposedly final storage, and (3) the excavation of underground caverns in salt layers, which the operators hope will be a final waste storage site (even though the expensive excavations don't meet minimum safety requirements).
This terrible affront to our way of life has created broad resistance throughout the community. A large number of people from the business and professional sectors have joined us. All of us are now reconsidering the so-called peaceful use of nuclear power. This has resulted in some of the largest mass protests ever seen in Germany.How do we fight?
Our farmers have always been peaceful. We've taken great care not to harm people or property, especially police vehicles. Yet the press and politicians have often maligned us as hooligans.
But our tractors do tend to get in the way of the Castor transports when they come into our area. Because we know our own geography better than the government, our tractors can go off-road and often manage to unexpectedly block a transport route. Of course, we are no insurmountable obstacle, but our actions do make an indelible impression on the public.
However, the police have responded violently farmers have repeatedly been beaten up and their tractors have been deliberately wrecked. During one Castor transport, our farmers managed to completely block the main highway to Gorleben, forcing the transport to take another route. But although the transport had already reached its destination, a police unit suddenly landed by helicopter and slashed more than 60 tyres of the offending tractors. Our non-violent farmers were forced to stand by and witness this deliberate assault, which caused damage of more than 80,000 marks. We have had no redress in the courts we've long since learned that people wearing police uniforms always have a legal advantage over farmers.
Other ways we spread our message
Our demonstrations have become known for their wit and humour. Before one Castor shipment we organised the largest tractor demo in German history, which we called Stunkparade -- Stink Parade. The 650 participating tractors and their trailers were fantastically decorated with cartoons and slogans. In addition to demos, our yearly Wendland Tractor Party has become a popular event for our sympathisers and supporters.
We're also engaged in intellectual activities. We argue against the nuclear industry and their lobbyists with pamphlets, press releases, letters to newspaper editors, as well as organising numerous informative events. Thus we've become credible to a large proportion of the population, as is proved by the generous financial support we've received.
Demonstrations with wit and humour
From our launch in 1977 until today, many tractor demonstrations have taken place in our county and beyond.
* There was the legendary trek to Hanover in 1979, with more than one hundred thousand participants, there were convoys to Magdeburg and Lüneburg and the
* largest tractor demonstration in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, called Stunk Parade (Stink Parade) from Gorleben to Dannenberg, when 650 tractors participated with fantastically decorated trailers. All of these activities are part of the wide scope of the resistance concept of the Bäuerliche Notgemeinschaft.
However, our most effective measure is: "We shall be in their way with our tractors."
Processed on: 22.08.2006/ad/ds
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