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Anti-nuclear protestors seriously injured by French police during high-level radioactive waste shipment

Three non-violent anti-nuclear protestors who locked themselves to the tracks to block a train carrying 11 containers of high-level radioactive waste being shipped from La Hague, France to Gorleben, Germany were seriously injured by French police over the weekend. The blockade, near the Caen, France train station, stalled the shipment for three and a half hours; others like it across France and Germany made the shipment take twice as long as authorities had planned. Train track blockades are a years-old tactic in Germany and France. Several years ago, a young French anti-nuclear activist was killed when the train failed to stop. This time, the three were seriously injured when police took violent measures to remove their non-violent blockade. Police cut through the metal tubes within which the non-violent activists' arms were locked, severing two tendons in one activist's hand which required he undergo surgery, and burning two other activists' skin to the point where skin grafts are necessary. The non-violent activist with the severed tendons was taken into police custody immediately after leaving the hospital, and the two activists with burns were held by the police overnight and were not able to consult with medical doctors until much later the next day. In the end, six activists were kept in custody for 24 hours; they, and another activist, must pay 16,500 €uros ($23,000) in bail by November 15th, or else be held in jail until their court date on December 8th. The French anti-nuclear coalition Sortir du Nucleaire issued a press release, calling for monetary support for the activists' legal defense fund. The activists will file a complaint about the police brutality they experienced. (Photo: Martin Leers).