Protesters raid illegal nuclear waste dump at Gorleben

from 30.may 2009

(by Diet Simon)

Demonstrators cut through fences and drove farm tractors into a compound they claim is an illegally built nuclear waste dump at the village of Gorleben in northern Germany.

     The local resistance group, Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow–Dannenberg (BI), reported more than 1,000 demonstrators and 30 tractors, a posting on IMC Germany had 1,000, a user of the site quoted local radio with 350, national radio with 500, adding that pictures certainly didn’t suggest 1,000.

But adding, too: “The number’s not important, it’s super that a demo involving direct action followed so fast on the new revelations about the salt deposit. That generates hope! We don’t need to boast about numbers – we have the better arguments, many years of resistance and have always been good for surprises like today’s. Thanks to all!”

The IMC post says at around noon fences were cut and people went into the waste storage compound with shovels, hammers and wheelbarrows to flatten the installations.

A second gate was also breached by ‘a reconnaissance squad’ to eyeball the illegal dump.

Police ordered protesters to disperse. While this was going on, activists climbed the shaft tower guarded by eight police, hoisting the anti-nuclear sun and the banner of the Wendland Republic, as the movement calls the area after a village they constructed on the site 31 years ago and bulldozed by police.

Farmers drove tractors into the grounds and blocked all entrances.

The IMC posting says police were completely overwhelmed and had to look on inactively as fences were cut and gates opened.

After about an hour and a half and before police reinforcements could reach the site, the farmers disappeared again with their tractors.

Pictures at and

In its media release on the action, the BI said activists ‘occupied’ the grounds of ‘the illegal construction’ for about two hours in response to the ‘admission’ of the operator, the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS) that building done above and underground is already designed to make Gorleben the final nuclear waste repository.

The BI release says BfS staff were seen securing files. A BfS internal report that building of the repository has begun without nuclear law procedures sparked the protest. (See German nuclear waste storage site developed illegally?)

The BI says the action was ended peacefully after hundreds of extra police arrived.

"We will not let them have any more peace and quiet and in the end carry the protest to Berlin,” wrote the BI. A big anti-nuclear demo is planned for Berlin, the German capital, for 5 September, convened by groups across the country.

Gorleben farmers want to send as many tractors as possible on the 240-kilometre journey and are looking for sponsors to help defray the cost. (Should you feel inspired to help, see how you can at

In a media release on the occurrence, the BfS wrote that it had always shown itself open and ready for dialogue towards past peaceful protests outside or in the grounds of the dump.

“But wilful damage to property as done today by some demonstrators in the grounds is not acceptable. It contributes nothing to a constructive debate about the unsolved final repository issue.

“The BfS acted in a de-escalating manner during the demonstration so that the intruded demonstrators ended their action peacefully.”

Other comments on the IMC posting:
- “Super! Terrific action! What impressed me most was that the people acted cooperatively. While some intruded, others blocked the way in. Great thing! I wish you lots more success!”
- “My solidarity with this inspired action! Keep it up! *smile.”

- “Keep it up! As of now that’s how it’s going to be everywhere and at each nuclear power station and nuclear waste dump!”

BI contacts:
Bürgerinitiative Umweltschutz Lüchow - Dannenberg e.V.
Rosenstr. 20
29439 Lüchow

Office: Tel: 05841-4684 Fax: -3197

Bearbeitet am: 30.07.2005/ad

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