Arrest 280 Near West German Nuclear Plant Site
WACKERSDORF, West Germany (AP) _ Police said they arrested 280 anti-nuclear militants and seized a cache of crude weapons Saturday as protesters staged Easter demonstrations against nuclear power and arms throughout West Germany.
Dieter Stelzer, police spokesman in this Bavarian village, said those arrested were plotting to charge the construction site of the Wackersdorf nuclear waste-recycling plant on Monday and tear down the perimeter fence.
In Frankfurt, the West German anti-nuclear movement’s Easter March Central office said between 75,000 and 80,000 people in more than 150 cities and towns demonstrated Saturday against nuclear arms and power. Many carried placards denouncing the arms race and the U.S. ″Star Wars″ research project.
There were no other reports of incidents or arrests.
One of the weekend protests was at Hasselbach, where the first unit of a total of 96 nuclear-tipped, U.S. cruise missiles are to be operational by Monday, the Defense Ministry said.
The Hasselbach protest was planned by local church groups and pacifists.
Stelzer said riot police Saturday tore down about 50 tents sheltering protesters near the Wackersdorf plant site in an isolated forested area, and arrested the activists for identity checks. He said an inquiry to determine what charges should be brought was in progress.
Stelzer said police found 10 Molotov cocktails, rope ladders, mace cans, axes, hammers, metal files, knives, glass-cutters, slingshots and 42 ″pyrotechnical devices″ in the tents.
Police moved in one day after about 20 activists hurled stones and fired slingshot projectiles at police on patrol, he said.
A spokeswoman for anti-nuclear protesters in Wackersdorf said the activists had been provoked by a police helicopter’s ″nosedive″ on the camp site earlier Friday. She refused to identify herself.
West Germany’s anti-nuclear movement made Wackersdorf a key target this year as part of its traditional Easter weekend demonstrations. Anti-nuclear protests have dogged the site since tree-clearing work began in December.
Organizers say they expect 30,000 to 50,000 demonstrators at Wackersdorf on Monday.
Friedhelm Ost, the West German government’s chief spokesman, warned Easter March participants Friday to stay within legal bounds.
Easter peace marches have been held in West Germany every year since the 1950s. The first protests were directed against the nation’s postwar rearming. The demonstrations later became increasingly anti-nuclear.