vom 21.02.1998



Opponents of nuclear fuel shipments may demonstrate but must keep tracks clear

By Reinhard Voss

Muenster - Muenster's police chief, Hubert Wimber, a supporter of the German ecological party, the Greens, has described the planned delivery of atomic waste to the temporary storage facility at Ahaus, North Rhine-Westphalia, as a "political provocation."

It would bring disruption to this peaceful part of Westphalia, he said, but added that the police will ensure that the delivery arrives at its destination, scheduled for the end of March.

Wimber and Horst Haase, the senior officer in control of the police units around Ahaus on "Day X" (the day the transport arrives), said the constitutional right to freedom of assembly will be just as important as his task of protecting the transport of six Castor nuclear waste containers.

So the police will allow peaceful demonstrators to stage non-violent protest "near and in sight of the transport route and the temporary storage facility."

But the rail tracks will not be the "scene for a demonstrative occasion," said Wimber. Every "right-thinking person" could rightly accuse the police of naivete if they acceded to the repeatedly declared demands of Castor opponents.

At the same time, Wimber promised that there would be no "no-go area" to include Ahaus and its complete surroundings. There would merely be a "basically protest-free area" near the temporary storage facility where previously approved demonstrations could take place.

Apart from one site directly opposite the facility for which the police are still searching for a solution, the planned protest camp will not be forbidden.

If it does come to violent disruption, the local police chiefs will be permitted to consider using batons. Haase also said that the use of water cannons, tear gas and special units would be at his personal discretion.

Anyone who occupies the tracks will not be beaten away, according to the latest operational plans. The tracks will be cleared of demonstrators "by carrying them away," said Haase. "Track squatters" will also have their identities taken because "track squatters behave illegally and will be dealt with through the courts." In a repeat case, they will be put in police custody. And anyone who tries to damage the tracks in Ahaus will "have to reckon with the full force of the law."

Wimber and Haase promised that the police will try to maintain "neutrality" during the operation in Ahaus and even want to strengthen the peaceful protest. They did though mention their concern that the men and women in uniform represent the "enemy" as well in Ahaus.

No date was named by the police on Friday for the Castor transport to Ahaus. It is thought that it will arrive in the last week of March from the southern German nuclear
plants at Gundremmingen and Neckarwestheim.

The interior ministry of Lower Saxony is expecting that more police and border guards will be employed at Ahaus than were needed at Gorleben's temporary storage
facility in March 1997. With about 30,000 officers men, that was the largest police operation there had been since World War II.

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Copyright © Frankfurter Rundschau 1998
Dokument erstellt am 22.02.1998 um 20.45 Uhr

Bearbeitet am: 25.02.1998 /ad

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