Fierce Battles As Nuclear 'Train Of Death' Held Up In Germany

(TELEGRAPH)

During running battles with police, demonstrators torched a police armoured car, chained themselves to stretches of line, tried to undermine tracks by kicking out stones and fought with officers in woodland leading to the train in a day of tense drama.

The security operation to ensure the cargo of reprocessed fuel from nuclear power stations in Germany reaches its destination is one of the biggest ever mounted with 17,000 police officers on duty.

The train left a reprocessing plant in France on Friday and was due at Gorleben in north West Germany at midday on Sunday.

But as night began falling it was halted some 35 miles away from its destination by protesters.

Police used tear gas, baton charges, horses, water cannon, pepper spray and human brute force but wave after wave of protesters continued to swarm on the last stretch of track before the city of Dannenberg.

There the 135 tons of waste must be loaded on to lorries to be driven the last few miles into the storage centre.

Local hospital casualty units reported swarms of injured demonstrators, many of them elderly, who were hurt in the mêlées. No police were injured when a Molotov cocktail set fire to an armoured car.

Regular train services in the north of Germany were delayed throughout the day as the protesters had to be cleared one by one from the path of the nuclear transport.