Around 300 French anti-nuclear activists trying to stop the departure of a train loaded with nuclear waste faced off against riot police yesterday in Normandy. 12 were arrested and many more sprayed with tear gas, but not before the protesters damaged a section of train track and set multiple vehicles on fire, including a police van.
The train, stopped in the town of Valognes, en route from a regional power plant to Germany, left an hour late. The shipment consisted of recycled uranium, the last of its kind to be sent from the power plant at La Hague to Germany.
In the wake of the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Germany decided to go 100% nuclear-free by 2022. The French anti-nuclear movement has grown as well, but its calls to wean the country off the energy source have not been heeded by those in power. 75% of French electricity comes from nuclear power.
The normally sleepy town of Valognes is an unlikely source of the latest news of police wielding batons and hurling tear gas at protesters come from, but images like these are becoming much too common.
More protests are expected as the train will travels to Germany over the next several days.
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