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Heavy Clashes Between Police And Protesters, 132 Police Injured

May 18, 1986

WACKERSDORF, West Germany (AP) _ About 1,000 anti-nuclear protesters attacked riot police with Molotov cocktails, stones and steel balls at a nuclear waste reprocessing plant Sunday. Authorities said 132 police were injured.

The riot police unleashed water cannons and tear gas to drive the protesters from the plant in this rural Bavarian town, near the border with Czechoslovakia.

Police spokesman Oswald Ertl said 132 policemen were injured and 25 of them required hospital treatment, but did not elaborate on their condition. He said about 2,000 riot police were deployed at the site.

Ertl said nine protesters were believed to have been taken to hospitals for treatment. Sixteen demonstrators were arrested, nine of them late Saturday when earlier clashes erupted.

The protesters hurled logs and tried to cut through the metal fence surrounding West Germany’s first nuclear waste reprocessing facility, which is still under construction.

Police, positioned behind the fence, fired water cannon. Many of the demonstrators wore black hoods to conceal their identity and gas masks to protect them from tear gas.

Ertl said about 3,000 protesters had gathered at the site for a demonstration called by environmentalist groups. He said about 1,000 people attacked the plant after a peaceful rally.

Protesters also erected barricades on a nearby railway line, disrupting traffic for several hours. They stopped two freight trains and tried to damage the tracks, Ertl said.

Clashes first occurred Saturday evening when about 500 protesters tried to storm the plant.

Late that evening, about 100 protesters stopped a train and attacked the engine driver with stones. The man locked himself in the engine and had to be rescued by police, Ertl said.

Anti-nuclear protesters and police guarding the installation have clashed frequently since construction work on the plant began in December.

Ertl said Sunday’s clash was the most violent so far. The protesters dispersed by late evening.

Opposition to nuclear power in West Germany has grown since the April 26 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in the Soviet Ukraine.

Update hourly