Germans Take the Street and Stuff Ballot Boxes To Protest Nuclear


photo via getty images

As engineeers continue to try to get control of Japan's Fukushima reactors, over 200,000 people spilled out onto the streets in cities across Germany Saturday to protest nuclear power. Their message was simple: get rid of all nuclear power in Germany so they don't have to experience what the people of Japan are now going through.The rallies were called "Fukushima Warns: Pull the Plug on all Nuclear Power Plants" and were sponsored by a variety of groups, including Germany's environmental lobby group BUND. German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week ordered a temporary shut down of seven of the country's older nuclear reactors so they could get new safety investigations.

Reports from police said that over 100,000 people were in Berlin, 40,000 in Hamburg, and 30,000 in Munich. Ten years ago, Germany instituted a plan to get rid of all nuclear energy by 2021, but Merkel reversed this policy and extended the life of Germany's reactors by 12 years. But the Fukushima disaster has changed the playing field yet again, and Germans are saying loud and clear "No Nukes" with these rallies.

Germany has an energy mix of about quarter nuclear, 40 percent from coal, and about 15 percent from renewable energy sources. An election on Sunday signaled that the fervor in the streets has extended to the ballot box. In Baden-Wuerttemberg state, the anit-nuclear Greens secured 24 percent of the vote, with the center-left Social Democrats down 2 percentage points, giving them enough form a coalition government in the state.

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